Karl Hughes

Karl Hughes

An Update on Engineering at Packback

An Update on Engineering at Packback

As I enter my second full year of working with Packback, I can say that it’s already been an exciting and challenging experience. When I came in on my first day, there were five offshore developers dragging files onto two servers with absolutely no discernible workflow, coding standards, or version control system.

We were barely at level 1 on the startup technical maturity scale.

The first few months were a free-for-all, but I learned a lot about managing outsourced resources, and some of the goods and bads associated with going that route in software development.

In Spring of 2014, we closed a round of funding and knew that our first task was to expand the engineering team. Steven Maguire was my first choice of the potential engineers that we looked at, and he soon came onto our team as our Head of Engineering. Working with Steven was one of the best learning experiences of my career.

Coming into my job with Packback, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a software engineer at all, but Steven gave me an appreciation for the intricacies of a well-designed system. I learned that a big application doesn’t have to be a big headache, that an organized product planning cycle makes all the difference, and that good software takes time and a level head to build. I wish I could work under Steven for another year because I feel like I still have much to learn from his experience.

Things Can Change Quickly

Engineering in a startup can be quite a challenge, even under the best circumstances. Steven moved on from Packback last month, and as of this week I’ve taken over his responsibilities as the leader of our team of four engineers.

Coming into a role like this without a ton of experience is a challenge, but I’ve got a great team to work with, and thanks to Steven, much of the technical architecture questions that I had a year ago have since been answered.

Keeping It Going

In short, we’ve got a great trajectory in place, so it’s my job to keep it together and keep the momentum up.

Packback has matured a lot since I joined 15 months ago - largely thanks to Steven’s influence - and I’m excited and honored to be able to lead the engineering team into 2015. There are still a lot of challenges ahead, but I am confident that we’re ready to take them on.

Great things don’t happen because of one person, but there’s no limit to what a great team can accomplish.

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