The Verys Management Team asks Lead Software Engineer Colin Luk, the ins-and-outs of working at Verys, including, remote work, new technology, and ultimately, what sets Verys apart from the rest.
Leading Developer/Lead Software Engineer
We sat down with our very own Colin Luk, lead Engineer, and cloud practitioner. Colin shared the importance of bridging engineering with business leaders, how a set of fresh eyes are sometimes needed to solve business challenges, and why he's outfitting his home with Raspberry Pi.
Q: What do you love about the city you currently live in?
A: I currently live in Irvine and I love it because of its diversity. I have two little kids also and I feel safe here. They have great schools, different cultures, different people, different kinds of food. My kids can explore, so it’s great.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
A: I love Japan - it's one of the most interesting and best places I've ever been to. It's expensive but super clean and a culture that has great food. I'm a big sushi fan. When we were there, we went to the fish market early in the morning and we basically ate sushi that was swimming in the ocean probably an hour before we ate it.
Q: What new technology/apps/software have you personally tried?
A: I'm really into home automation so I've started building up my own Raspberry Pi locally in my house. It's kind of like a side project that I've been working with since I've been home a little bit more than usual. I also made it into a little retro arcade. You can make all kinds of things on there and I’m kind of reliving my youth a little bit by playing.
Q: What have you learned from the COVID-19 pandemic? And did you learn anything new about yourself?
A: This is the first time I've actually been working from home so I've learned from it. Initially, it was a bit of a struggle, not having that separation between work and home. I miss the people and I've learned that you still have to have a routine - wake up, change into your work clothes and separate your home from your work. That's kind of what keeps me sane in this environment that we're in even though I'm literally working in my bedroom.
Q: What personally motivates you to succeed?
A: To help others and also enrich yourself a little bit. I don't like being complacent. There are always new things coming up so what drives me is always learning, and keeping up with new technology that's in the world right now.
Q: How did you discover your passion for software and technology solutions?
A: I grew up in Silicon Valley, so I was pretty much surrounded by technology when I was growing up. Actually, my house growing up is about a 10-minute walk from Apple’s headquarters. So I think all my neighbors and technology all the kids were in the technology so I was exposed pretty early on. I would like to tinker around with things.
Q: Tell us about your experience at Verys.
A: We’re not always stuck on working on one thing so it gives you exposure to different technologies. To me, that's a good thing, and it's good for your career. I'm not trying to push the same button a million times every day - I'm trying to learn different things as the industry grows.
Q: What knowledge/skills can you personally offer to your clients?
A: I've been in this industry for 15+ years so I definitely have a history of working in technology. I've experienced working in startups that actually got bought out to big corporate companies like Toyota and Kia Motors, so I bring a different variety of exposure in terms of agile development to corporate development. Also, I feel as a developer there are soft skills that you need to have - there's a lot of guys that are really good at coding but you can't talk to them about anything. Being able to work with business people, marketing people, management, being able to communicate your thoughts and ideas, working with people - I think that's something that aside from being a good developer. Those are the skills that you need to kind of move on in your career. There are tons of people that can code, people can sit in a room and code forever, but there are not that many people that can sit around and present PowerPoints to CEOs and CTOs. I think it's definitely part of my skill set that I'd be able to bring to the table for my clients.
Q: What are you hoping for your clients?
A: For my clients, I'm here to help them solve their problems and to help them better themselves. I can bring a different kind of view to their problems. My goal is to solve whatever issue they have and hopefully be able to better themselves as a company or sell the product a little better and be more efficient. A lot of times we help them modernize their technology. Our philosophy is helping them to start the move to more modern technology.
Q: How can you help your clients find solutions?
A: I let them have a third pair of eyes. Sometimes when you look at a hard problem you might get tunnel vision - you know you're stuck, thinking this is the only way to fix it and you can't figure it out. Having a third pair of eyes come in and be able to think a little bit outside the box, and take some of the expertise that I've had in my career to look through, look at the problem and think of a different solution, or recommend solutions, that's something that we as consultants are able to do.
Q: What sets Verys apart from other companies?
A: We have engineers who are willing to help others, who are more passionate and go above and beyond their billable hours to help and learn. That's something I don't see many in most companies.