FinoComp Focus – Ashley Van Beek

May 13, 2022

View from a Fintern

Ashley Van Beek

Tell me about your role at FinoComp?

My role here at FinoComp is as a junior software developer.  When I first started, I was involved in backend development but soon discovered my real passion lay with User Interface (UI) development. FinoComp were helpful in supporting my transfer over and really made the process easy.

UI is what you first see when you go on to an app or a website, the different pages you can navigate to or the functionality of each page.  There is a lot of data manipulation that goes into this, which I am slowly learning, it is not always the easiest thing to do!

I am currently working on the development of two of our microservices; Cobalt and Model Portfolio Solutions MPS. (link here) I am currently working on a quite large feature for the MPS interface, Since this is UI work, testing is very interactive which is the part that I really enjoy.  It’s cool, you can pick up a task, implement functionality onto a page, and as you are writing the code you can see it pop up on screen at the same time. This is really rewarding and satisfying to feel that I am really contributing to the app. It is also great for testing purposes, to see first-hand that it works!

We work in teams, and I am part of a team called Starforce. We are responsible for a few of FinoComps apps.  Within the team we have what we call “sprints”, this is where every two weeks we set tasks for ourselves, these tasks consist of completing customer requests for the app, upkeep of the app’s performance, implementing new functionality for the app, etc. We set our selves the tasks to complete within that time frame. Work is allocated on what we call a “story board”.  When you are looking for work you can check the storyboard for what needs doing for that current sprint. Picking up a task you aren’t too familiar with is a really great way of learning something new and FinoComp are supportive when it comes to people wanting to branch out and learn something new. Once you have picked your task, you do the work required, then other people will review your code, and add comments on what could be improved and/or changed. This is another great way to learn and improve your coding skills.


The Fintern program

My Fintern program began at the beginning of a covid lockdown, so initially it was hard to meet the people that I would soon be working with. We only had a couple of days in person at the start which was enough to get our machines up and running as well as meet our “Buddy” who we would be painting with in the early stages of the Finternship.  The onboarding process was great, in this we were learning how all the elements of our software and different technologies used at FinoComp connect with each other.  We then got split up into our teams, where all the team names are marvel related. I was put in team “Starforce”, there were several other maths graduates already in that team so it was comforting to know that others would have had a similar experience.  From the get-go you are pairing with your buddy, picking up tasks, watching how they approach these and learning with them.  As time goes on you get more independent and start picking up tasks on your own.

I joined the Fintern program whilst I was still at university, working at FinoComp three days a week.  They were super flexible if anyone needed to change their days around to fit with university work.  I was studying a Mathematics Advanced degree UOW. (link here) It was while I was here that a previous professor of mine told me about the program.  She knew I had an interest in coding, saw that I liked it and was getting good at it.  A maths background is also very useful in this area as it can really help with the problem solving.


Why FinoComp ?

When I first heard of the program, I didn’t know anything about FinoComp, I was just excited to learn more about the computer science role that was available.  Once I started doing my research and as I went through the interview process, I was super impressed with the culture and technologies used here at FinoComp.  The interviews were not too formal, and the conversation just felt right. Everyone I spoke to in the business were over the moon to be working there.  I love working, It can be very rewarding, and to find that all the people I met there had the same attuite towards work, proves that this is a great place to work.

I also felt it would be a bit of a challenge. Coming from a maths background and moving into computer science I knew would be a huge learning curve.  But we had constant support, ranging from check-ups with Leanne in HR and weekly meetings with your buddy, as well as constantly talking to other team members and having regular skill sharing sessions. I wasn’t running around getting coffee as an intern, I was working on projects that contributed to the business from day one.

It is not all work though, there are lots of fun things and regular activities that we can take part in, like trivia sessions, RUMBA celebrations and even dragon boat race training on Lake Illawarra! We were all given Easter baskets with FinoComp socks inside and there is currently a competition for the funkiest place you can be pictured in your FinoComp socks!


Encouraging women in STEM

Rowing event with the FinoComp team

My interest in mathematics started in my later years of high school when one of my teachers noticed that I was getting good at it. That one person you look up too, can also really make a huge difference to your career choices.

During my degree I was in many male-dominated classes, and in one or two I was the only girl in that class. But it is nice to know more girls are getting into this line of work, and confidently studying computer science and maths.

The word needs to be spread more about how to get into this and how exciting it can be.   I think it starts in high school, when you finish, you might not know exactly what you want to do or even what you are good at, so many people just go into more generalist subjects without knowing your potential for coding or STEM.  I think if there was more communication about how exciting these subjects can be, with maybe more clubs and presentations in lectures that might be a good way of spreading the word.

Outside of work I was really into my outdoors activities but because of Covid a lot of that had to be put on hold. I am really into long walks and activities that involve spending time with friends. I am also in the meantime writing a maths paper with one of my professors, which keeps me busy.