Meet Julien, Principal Software Engineer at Phlo Connect. In this next instalment of our Meet the Team series, we speak to Julien who tells us about his role here, what brought him to Phlo and what he envisions for the future for Phlo Connect.
I’m originally from France where I studied multimedia & communication and started a career in web development. About eight years ago I decided to pack up and move abroad. I landed in Glasgow where I quickly joined the BBC as a Junior Software Engineer (or web developer at the time).
But, after about seven years and being promoted from junior to mid-level, then senior software engineer, I decided it was time for me to explore new horizons.
Joining a “start-up” has always been on my career bucket list and Phlo was a great opportunity for this. It allowed me to step up in a new role as Principal Software Engineer, taking on more responsibilities.
The other thing that attracted me to work for Phlo was to work on something I believed in and could see myself use. I genuinely think the service we deliver is providing great value to our users and is helping push the future of healthcare.
As a Principal Software Engineer, it’s my role to represent and lead the engineers in my team. Engineering is only one of the three pillars that make up our team, the other two being Design/User Experience and Product. I work closely with everyone to make sure we create and deliver the best product for our users. It is my job to help with shaping and making engineering decisions for what we are trying to build.
This is my first role where I manage other people and while it’s been a learning experience so far, I quite enjoy it. It’s important to me that everyone I manage gets what they need to work day-to-day and progress in their career.
On a typical day I usually start in the morning by catching up on messages on Slack and emails I may have missed, seeing if anything needs my input. Then I resume where I’ve left off the day before until 10am.
10am is when we have our daily stand-up meeting. It’s a chance for everyone to get together and update the rest of the team on what they’ve been working on and whether they need anything to keep moving forward on their task.
The rest of the day varies, often filled with meetings to plan work ahead of time or review decisions. Some days I’m lucky and I get enough uninterrupted time to pick up a task to work on myself!
We’re using modern technologies, from typescript to automated cloud deployments, to make the developer experience as good as possible, making sure it helps us deliver the best service we can rather than get in our way. It lets us quickly deploy new features or bug fixes to our users or our pharmacists.
In my team, where we focus on the private healthcare providers experience, we’ve just released digital signing, allowing doctors to sign a prescription digitally rather than having to send the pharmacy a paper copy of it. We then use blockchain technology to timestamp that digital signature to preserve its integrity.
Don’t worry too much about what’s the current popular technologies or programming language and focus on mastering the fundamentals. Make sure to understand what building a website or mobile apps means and the differences between frontend, backend and full stack development, etc.
Now is a great time to get into tech, but it can also be quite overwhelming as there is a lot of information out there. Signing up for a short course, online or in person, is a great way to get a more focused learning experience and intro to technology and software development.
One last thing, don’t be afraid to apply for jobs even if you don’t fit 100% of the requirements. Passion, a good attitude and a will to learn will get you much further than memorising the entire Node.js documentation.
Right now, we’re focusing on creating a portal where our partners will be able to log in and create prescriptions or check on the status of ones they’ve created previously. It’s quite early in the project right now but we’re talking to our partners to identify the features they’d expect or hope for in such a tool.
Our designers are hard at work creating a great user experience while me and the engineers are busy building the authentication service that’ll be the backbone of this prescribing portal. You can read more about how we picked Ory Kratos to do just that in this blog post.
With Phlo Connect, we’re focusing on creating products for our healthcare provider partners, offering tools to create and view prescriptions that are sent to our pharmacy. Our main objective is to provide the best digital pharmacy service to their thousands of patients and to remove as much friction as possible for the prescribers.
It’s still early on, but we have a few exciting projects coming up and we’re regularly talking to our partners to understand their needs to create the perfect tool for them to prescribe items to their patients. I believe we can create something that no one else offers in the pharmacy HealthTech space.
My favourite thing, whenever I can, is to get a few friends together and play boardgames all evening. Whether we’re building train tracks in Ticket to Ride, bluffing in Skull, or betting on camel races in Camel Up.
For the last couple of years, I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons, a roleplaying game, with friends via Zoom once or twice a week. It’s been an amazing creative outlet and a great way to socialise with some friends that I wouldn’t see as often otherwise.
Interested in finding out more about Phlo Connect and how we can help? Get in touch today.