In anticipation of the exciting new things Junari are currently working on, what better time is there to get to know the team? For the final instalment in a series of monthly interviews, I spoke with Srijana Timilsina, software developer at Junari, about coding, the importance of computer knowledge, and Nepal.  

Do you feel it is important for everyone to be somewhat knowledgeable about computers, and if so why?

With computers being an integral part of our lives (whether it is in your home, workplace or in public), being familiar with them and understanding how they work certainly benefits people. I believe that it is important for everyone to know the basics of computer systems. Computers don’t always mean laptops or desktops, but also include other devices such as tablets, smartphones, smart devices etc. In our daily life, we come across different computer-based technologies and some of the advantages of being knowledgeable about them are : they help in accomplishing your tasks faster; knowledge of computer systems helps in avoiding different viruses, scams, fraudulence activities etc; knowledge about web browsers helps you in finding solutions to different problems, searching for things, using e-commerce services; and as most jobs nowadays require knowledge of computers, you can land better jobs if you know how to use them.

How does working in England differ from working in Nepal?

After the pandemic and lockdown, most of the software development companies in Nepal started the culture of remote working. The remote working culture here in England is pretty much the same as what it used to be back in Nepal. However, there are a few things about the working culture here that I like and are different from what I experienced in Nepal. First thing is that people here tend to take a lot of vacation time and are not shy about it. Most people in Nepal end up taking only half of their paid leaves, while people here fully utilise it and enjoy their personal lives. Also, I feel that people here are strict about their office timings. Most of the people in Nepal, including me, sometimes do office work during personal time, because of reasons such as lack of a proper home office setup, a strict routine or tight deadlines. However, I don’t find many people intertwining their work and personal life in England, and I think this is a good practice to follow as it helps in a good work-life balance.

What are the most important things to consider when writing code?

For a programmer, just writing a code that works is not the most important thing. We should always follow the best practices as much as possible:

Before you start writing the code, think about how you will address the problem. If the change you are going to make is a big one, make sure to create a draft or plan with different steps you are going to take, and find the optimal solution to tackle the problem. An optimal solution doesn’t always have to be a complex one; sometimes the simple approach is the best. Your code should be easy to understand and maintain by other developers. Some of the things you can do to assure this is format your code properly, add enough comments, separate the codebase based on the functionality and follow the consistent coding patterns and naming conventions. 

Finally, always test your code and make sure that it doesn’t break the existing functionality of your application before committing them.

You went to the Tribhuvan university in Nepal, what are some of the most important things you learnt while studying there?

I did my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering from Tribhuvan University, which is the oldest university in Nepal. Before joining the university, I did not have much knowledge of computer systems or software development. During my four years at the university, I learned many things including how certain computer programs work, concepts of object-oriented programming language, different software development methodologies, databases, artificial intelligence concepts and data structures. The skills I gathered from there help me in my professional life. 

However, academic skills are not the only important things I learned at the university. Having to study more than six subjects each semester made me a more organised person and helped me in improving my time management skills. Also, doing multiple projects and assignments helped me in critical thinking, decision making, reasoning and problem-solving.

How important is gaining new knowledge to you and why?

Learning new skills and keeping yourself updated with new tools and technologies is more of a necessity than a choice nowadays. You could gather new knowledge from various sources such as social media, television, newspaper or different people in your daily life. This knowledge could be about different things like healthy habits, new recipes, the latest innovations, tools and technologies or things happening around the world. Gaining new knowledge helps me in different ways such as keeping me up to date with the things going on in the world, increasing my adaptability, opening doors for different fields and aspects, and also helps in my professional life.

What do you find most exciting about software development?

The things I find most exciting about the software development field are the creativity and continuous learning opportunities. Unlike some other fields where you acquire a fixed set of skills and are done for the rest of your work life; in software development, if you don’t keep yourself up to date with new tools and technologies, you will be outdated. Also, as most of the work in this field is project-based, you will get the opportunity to work on different domains and develop your knowledge about the business sectors.

How and where do you work best?

For almost four years I’ve been working remotely. I have adapted myself to the working from home habits. For the first few weeks of it, I struggled with time management, communication and collaboration. After having my WFH set up and managing my time accordingly, I started to overcome those difficulties. With that being said, I think I work best in a hybrid working environment with offices 3-4 times a month. Employees commuting daily to the office have to spend time, funds and energy on their travel which benefits no one. However, travelling to the office and meeting with your colleagues once a week does freshen you up.

Generally, I do best when I have one task at a time to work with as I will be less distracted and can give my 100% to specific tasks. Also, regarding dependability, I can work on the task assigned independently and without any help. However, having someone (for example, a senior supervisor) who could help me with some of the decision making, rate my work, and provide me feedback helps me improve myself and make better decisions.

Thanks for chatting Srijana. That concludes our final interview- hope you enjoyed meeting the team!

Interview by Alana Samuel, digital marketer at Junari

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