Name: Spencer Y
Job Title: Associate Software Developer, Business Technology
I went “orange” in more ways than one
I graduated from Northern Illinois University (NIU) in December 2018 with a degree in Computer Science. When I am not at work, I like to spend my time outside doing just about anything, like watching the Chicago Fire soccer team, scuba diving and bike riding.
During my last semester attending NIU, a new initiative called code_orange was launched. This program provides tech-savvy students with opportunities on the university’s campus to help research and develop new technologies for Discover. I was among the first group of students that was given the opportunity to work in this lab.
Working in the code_orange program was one of the best experiences in my college career. When our team received our first project, we only given a description and milestones for the app we were to build. It was up to us to decide how it should look and work. This led to learning new technologies like React Native and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Not only did we increase our technology skills, we became better collaborators by improving how we worked within a team environment.
All semester Discover brought in different presenters from Amazon, Pivotal, and Solstice to talk about enterprise ideas like agile methods, paired programming and using AWS tools. After joining Discover full time, I have continued to attend company Lunch-n-Learns about next generation technology topics.
A Place I can be myself.
Working at Discover gives me freedom and flexibility to be myself. The way teams are structured, everyone is open to new ideas and listens to what other people say. I have had two different experiences at Discover, working in the code_orange lab, as an intern, and working full time; both were different than attending classes at NIU. At school, most homework is completed on your own, but at Discover, everyone is willing to answer questions when you’re stuck or provide feedback on your project.
I’m surprised a FinTech company can be so flexible
One benefit that surprised me is the flexibility of where you can work. The code_orange program had an open seating layout where we could sit where we wanted with our team and we were allowed to work around our class schedule. As a full-time employee, I enjoy the flexibility of being able to work at headquarters in the suburbs, our 606 location (downtown Chicago office) or working from home depending on the situation
How is your work and the work of your department meaningful?
When working at code_orange, I was on an agile team that included students as well as a project owner and a technical mentor who were both full-time employees. The tech mentors and full-time employees were there to help guide the team and answer questions. My team worked on creating a mobile app that would allow users to find and collaborate with other users using Bluetooth technology. It was satisfying to know we were helping others to be more productive.
Currently I am working on the Discover Android and iOS mobile app team. We support and create new features to provide Discover customers a great user experience while on their mobile devices. Typically the day starts out with our team stand-up to check in, plan new features and raise potential issues. Then the rest of the day normally consists of development and testing of new features with a lot of collaboration throughout the day.
Every day, the Discover Mobile app is improving with the focus of providing our customers the best mobile experience to manage their Discover accounts.
A message to you
If you are thinking about working for Discover. Go for it! Discover has good people and is a great place to work.