Meet the Team: Yousuf LaHaye, Software Developer
We’re back with a fan favorite: VIA’s Meet the Team blog series! Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from our very own VIAneers about everything from a typical day at VIA to their favorite books, emojis, and activities outside the office. Now, let’s meet ‘em!
What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?
First and foremost… coffee. This is followed by checking my emails for any correspondence on pull requests and checking slack messages for anything urgent that needs to be answered. After that I attend my daily standup, where I coordinate with my teammates and Program Lead about what I have on my plate for the day, and If I have any questions or blockers surrounding the current work I am doing. Then more coffee.
As for what I actually work on when I really get to it…that changes everyday! I could be doing backend work developing API’s in python, working on CI/CD pipelines or developing infrastructure with Kubernetes and Helm. Somedays include an “All Hands” meeting where I hear some (usually exciting!) news about new opportunities for VIA or a “donut chat” (a company-wide program that randomly connects people for 15-minute syncs weekly) where I can connect with a coworker I wouldn’t normally chat with.
How has VIA’s adoption of flexible work locations impacted your work-life harmony?
VIA is my first job after graduating, and since I graduated during the pandemic, I entered the world of flexible working arrangements (I’m lucky!). Regardless, VIA’s flexible work arrangement has been instrumental for me in keeping a healthy work-life balance. My favorite part is being able to close my laptop at the end of the day and immediately throw on my running shoes to get out for a run. This gives me an opportunity to disconnect fully and transition into whatever I have planned for the rest of my evening.
What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?
Upgrading one of VIA’s core platform components, Web3 Multi-Party Computation (MPC), to a new and improved version! It has been extremely satisfying redesigning the old system to make it even faster, leaner, and more capable. I have especially enjoyed working on the infrastructure of the new MPC component in what we internally refer to as the “Lego MPC Node” and “Lego Data Node”. We call them this because the MPC component is highly configurable. Each Epic (VIA’s name for a development team) or customer using MPC can deploy and connect the specific “lego pieces” they need, based on the application. This reduces resources, saves capital and makes updates to a live MPC implementation much easier!
What’s your favorite VIA memory?
There are several good ones, but my favorite was our 2022 offsite. It was a great opportunity to discuss big picture ideas, challenge the way we were approaching current problems and to better understand why we are doing what we are doing at VIA. An added bonus was being able to let off some steam with coworkers and finally get to meet people in person that I had been working remotely with for almost 2 years!
What’s something everyone may not, but should know about working at VIA?
We have a VXP (VIAneer Experience Program), dedicated to employee development and well-being. As part of this program, we have wellness check-ins with a wellness advisor to talk about how we are feeling with our current work, our ambitions and career goals, and new technical skills we want to learn. It’s usually quite casual, and has plenty of time for chatting about what I have planned for the weekend and how I think this is the year the Leafs will win the cup.
What potential do you see in VIA’s Web3 projects?
I see a lot of potential in our Skylight application and how it can be used to monitor, predict, and manage peak load for utilities. Utilities can use this information to manage the grid and to inform residents when to reduce energy usage to avoid blackouts. Furthermore, residents can be incentivized to reduce energy through the app and can be instantly rewarded for doing so. A win-win for both parties!
Why is our VXP program important to you?
The VXP is important to me because it makes me feel seen and heard as an employee at VIA.
The wellness check-ins that are a part of the VXP are a safe space to voice how I feel and to talk about what I like and what I think could be better about my experience at VIA. My most fond memory of the VXP was when I voiced a desire to make a career transition from being a Data Specialist to a Software Developer. I was placed on a new team and under the guidance of senior software developers to make the transition as smooth as possible. I felt supported throughout the whole process, and this experience really solidified my confidence in the VXP and how valuable it is for employee wellness!
Just for fun this time, what are your top favorite podcasts / books?
No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy
Also one of my favorite movies – it’s a crime thriller with a slow developing story that gives you a chance to think deeply about the symbolism in the book surrounding fate and circumstance.
Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
A book about our two thought systems (fast and slow), while it is non-fiction some of the examples in the book almost read like sci-fi. It has helped me understand my biases and to approach problems more rationally.
A Spy Among Friends – Ben Macintyre
I am a bit of a history buff, and this book follows the story of an English spy who was secretly acting as a double agent for the Soviet Union for several years before, during and after the second world war. In addition to being a thrilling read I also enjoyed the wisdom around friendship and what it means to stay true to your principles.
What are your favorite emojis?
Intrigued by the VIAneer’s Experience program? Apply here for our open roles and learn about it firsthand!