Why HG Is Right For Me: Dawn Ducharme
My name is Dawn Ducharme and I’m a software developer at HG Insights. I started as an intern at HG, and I’ll never forget my first day. From the first time I walked into the engineering room—with walls covered in Magic cards, board games on the tables, and sci-fi models meticulously hung from the ceiling—I felt surrounded by like-minded people.
Here’s a little more about me. I grew up on video games, computers, and Star Trek. My room was a mess of computer parts and random pieces of tech junk and I built my first computer at 15. A few years later, I went to Berkeley and discovered computer science. Though I never wrote code before college, but everyone around me was very, very intelligent. It was a stimulating environment, one that I would soon return to at HG Insights.
My first “real job”
In 2018, I started my first “real job,” office job, as a software engineering intern at HG. It was all very new, and I learned so much during my first year. For me, it was new work, new responsibilities, and a new feeling to work on a close-knit team, with code reviews, and planning large-scale projects. I saw how to collaborate on a team—and felt a lot of support from my coworkers.
It wasn’t long before I realized that my colleagues and everyone around me were invested in growing me as a developer. They took their time and they taught me a lot. I would write code, college-level code that was just okay. Then the entire team would put a lot of time into giving me feedback. It really helped! I was shown how and where my code could be improved, here and there.
I really appreciated the time my coworkers invested in me. The longer I’ve been at HG, the more I see how collaboration is part of the culture, it’s just something we do at HG. And I’ve come a long way. The whole team helped me grow, not just from an intern to a software developer, but into who I am today.
“I get to feel proud of the work I do”
Now, I’m one of the software developers in charge of making our apps work, for me, that’s the HG Insights Platform. On a day-to-day basis, I read and write a lot of code, plan a lot of code, work with product managers and stakeholders to make sure everything gets done. I maintain the code base for the platform, a collection of code that controls how the website behaves, how it works, and looks. Then, I make sure the code in the repository is good for the next generation—we have to make sure the next generation doesn’t hate you. We’re building for the future after all. I get to feel proud of the work I do.
I was one of the main developers on our new marketing intelligence product, and it was a ton of work. I wrote some big pieces of the Market Intelligence experience, filters on the data set, graphic data displays…
…it’s really rewarding to get to do work on such big projects in cutting-edge tech applications.
We work mostly with 2 tech stacks. At the data level, we work with Snowflake, a data warehousing system. On top of this we use Elixir, the next generation of erlang (invented for the telephone system, designed to handle huge swatches of data and concurrent requests at the same time. Elixir is an API layer that allows users to query the data in human terms, without having to understand it on a low level.
My favorite part about HG is how it caters to people who are interested in doing things outside of their tech stack or software speciality. In other places, this would be considered out of their role, but at HG they teach you and let you learn on the job.
I shared how my team was invested in my growth as an intern. This is still the case. Collaboration is freeform, and everyone on my team is available as needed. There’s a team spirit and we look out for each other and work together collaboratively. There is flexibility in tasks and delegation. All the teamwork and alignment helps us all have a great work-life balance.
“Some people call HG a rocket ship…”
We are doing really well. Our IP is strong and we’re getting a lot of patents. The work I get to do every day is inherently valuable, and we’re not afraid to try new things. Some people call HG a rocket ship… and maybe there’s a grain of truth to that. After all, yesterday’s weather is the best indicator for today’s.
And though there have been lots of challenging projects, I haven’t had an instance where everything catastrophically blew up… so far!
That is why I joined HG—and why you should too.