My Career Story

Yardi Software

Fresh out of my Masters degree, I got recruited into Yardi Software as an intern. My first paid corporate job. I still remember the first day of work. Colourful butterflies in my stomach and heaps of dreams to quickly learn and climb the corporate ladder. I had to learn VB.Net programming on-the-go and an in-house framework that the initial developers at Yardi built called Cafe framework. I was proficcient with C#.Net and ASP.Net so it didn’t take me a while to get a grasp of VB.Net.

Yardi makes ERP software for property management industry. The users include property managers, builders, contractors, brokers, tenants, and other professionals in the property market.

 

Build a new broker portal

When I joined Yardi, they were planning to build some online portals for the end users. One of them was a broker portal. I was tasked with building this portal from scratch using VB.Net and Cafe framework. There were a few complexities involved in the execution of this product (or portal).
  • One broker can be working for multiple property management companies.
  • One broker can have multiple tenants and multiple sites.
  • One tenant can have contract with multiple properties by the same broker.
  • The APIs must be able to fetch new available properties for brokerage from multiple property management companies’ systems. The broker can then, within the platform, approach these companies and show an interest in selling their listed properties.
The user of this platform was a broker and the main features of the product were:
  • They must be able to view all the available properties on the market that they can show an interest in selling.
  • They must be able to list their properties on the platform. This platform was then connected to a marketplace portal where tenants could search for properties.
  • They must be able to schedule the property inspections.
  • They must be able to record the condition of the property and print or send condition reports.
  • They must be able to view the details of tenants who have signed a contract with them.
  • They must get notifications on nearing of annual contract renewals, messages from the tenants via the tenant portal and any new hot properties on the market.
Yes, this was a massive take for my very first professional project and I was the only person implementing it. I had huge help from my team leader and project manager and was able to complete the product development on time. This was the first time I was working in a Waterfall method and learned its benefits. I believe working in Agile method is not a solution to every problem. Every software development life cycle has its own pros and cons. One needs to learn, understand and weigh it before deciding the correct approach.

After 6 months, I was converted from an intern to a Software Developer.

 

The project was a huge success and I got lots of appreciation senior management.

Monash University

I was lucky to be employed at Monash University’s eSolutions in the most interesting time. It was July 2016 and the University was going through a massive technology and process uplift and was spending an impressive amount of money in this transformation. They were adopting the Agile ways of working using the Scrum methodology, performing an enterprise architecture review and reconstruction, and finding ways to improve enterprise-wide communication and user experience. Being the largest university in Australia with approximately 86,000 students and almost 17,000 academic and professional staff, the planned changes were incredibly challenging and extremely big. I was engaged in three major projects:

 

  • setting up and automating Business Intelligence (BI) reporting system
  • procuring two third-party applications
  • adoptiong and becoming a subject matter expert for an operational intelligence tool – Splunk

Setting up and automating a BI reporting system

The technology division of Monash University – eSolutions used BMC Helix Remedy as its ticket management, change management, and problem management solution. I was tasked with integrating the Business Intelligence reporting and analytics tool – BMC Smart Reporting with BMC Remedy, automating reports and dashboard generation on this tool, and training team leaders and managers from across multiple teams in its usage. All of this had to be done in the most cost-effective way.

 

I first started by gathering requirements through one-on-one interviews, questionnaires, user observation of the current work environment and finally group interviews/workshops. I then transferred all of these business requirements into functional requirements, and documented and presented them to my project manager. Upon getting the approval, I followed the following steps:

 

  • Setup naming conventions and data standards for the reports and dashboard for the new BI system
  • Automate reports and dashboards generation process within the BI system to cater to users’ requirements
  • Spin-up an Apache server with various security protocols
  • Write automation scripts to export certain specific reports and dashboards from BMC Smart Reporting to the Apache server only accessible to the directors and top management
The aftermath:
  • The overall transparency, performance, work efficiency, and accountability of various service delivery teams within eSolutions improved.
  • Decision making for team leaders, directors and top-level management became quicker, easier and data-driven.
  • The support teams’ issue management response time reduced by 20%.

Procurement of two major third-party applications

The University had to procure two major automation tools – one an organisation-wide employee rostering system, and a mass incident notification tool. These tools were to be used by over 400 internal and external stakeholders of Monash University. I was responsible for gathering, analysing and documenting requirements from managers, team leaders, and directors through one-on-one interviews, questionnaires, user observation of the current work environment and finally group interviews/workshops.

 

Since it involved many teams across the business, I had to choose a sample of users and managers to perform requirements elicitation. Based on these requirements, I produced the following documents:
  • Requirements specification document
  • Request for Information
  • Request for Proposal
  • Request for Quotation
I had to be in continuous communication with various vendors and acted as a liaison between them and my project manager while organising proof of concepts and implementation meetings.
 

 

Subject matter expert on Splunk

My team was responsible for learning, implementing, adapting and acting as subject matter experts for the operational intelligence tool – Splunk. I underwent training in the system’s usage and its infrastructure. I then was a part of coming up with business use cases for implementing Splunk in the University environment. I then acted as a liaison between the data warehouse team and my team to implement Splunk pipeline which observed and analysed students’ location data within the Monash University campuses based on their connectivity to the University’s Wi-Fi routers. This data was then used to map and forecast the student population at specific locations at specific times during the day. This enabled the University to plan and setup important student services booths at or near those specific locations to provide the best possible services in the most accessible way.

The Ava Group

Do you remember the American sitcom series The Big Bang Theory? Imagine being Penny Barber working with Sheldon Cooper and his gang every single day. I was Penny at The Ava Group (then called Future Fibre Technologies). It was an honour working in the Research and Development team with all extremely brilliant minds in the fields of Physics, Electronics, Mechanics and IT. Their jokes often went above my head but I got to experiment and gain an incredible amount of skills in software development, business analysis, quality assurance and technical documentation.

My huge gratitude goes to my project manager Alex Adams.

In my three years there I worked on a lot of projects and I can’t really discuss most of them in detail due to signed confidentiality agreements. There are three projects I can share with you here.

Automatic product versioning system

Every time a new version of the products was to be released, the software developers in the Research and Development team spent a lot of time manually editing and updating the version details in all the code libraries and software products they developed. Each product has a set of developers building it with their own versioning conventions. I was tasked with interviewing each set of developers and to figure out a mechanism to automate this process.

Based on the requirements, I wrote software code to automate this process using C#.Net and Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) framework. It automatically updated versioning information of each library, patch, update and software product of the company. This code saved a lot of developers’ time by running as part of the batch processes in the build and production server and improved system development efficiency.

Data analysis using advanced Microsoft Excel

The company was developing a new one-of-a-kind product and I was a part of performing its proof of concept. I gathered and analysed requirements from both, internal and external stakeholders and configured the new features of the products in a way that eliminated the possibility of error in its outputs. For doing so, I had to perform field and software tests, collect output data generated from these products, and use advanced Microsoft Excel to identify defects and anomalies in the data. I was also responsible for documenting the users’ requirements, configuration and test environment, and results of my data analysis. These results were then used by the software developers of various products and other key internal stakeholders to plan, fix and enhance the systems to provide optimum results to the user.

Revamping quality assurance delivery process

The software tests, test cases, references to backlog items and bugs, various test results and artefacts were not maintained in a systematic form. The product owner, developers and software testers spent a lot of their time searching for test results to track product performance. I noticed this issue and started investigating it by interviewing a few developers in the team and researching through various mediums for existing solutions.

I then approached my Project Manager with a few recommendations in our one-on-one meetings. He appreciated the ideas and asked me to start working on them with the senior Quality Assurance Engineer. We came up with a quality management plan which involved streamlining the software delivery process by introducing certain automated testing along with the existing manual processes. I was also responsible for documenting these processes and coming up with standards for writing and maintaining test cases and test suites.

  • This reduced the overall quality assurance delivery time by up to 20%
  • Introduced quick accessibility to test results
  • Improved products’ performance tracking.