Employee Spotlight: Chris Sean

Welcome to the BigCommerce Employee Spotlight. Each month, we’ll chat with an employee who works on the BigCommerce product. These are the folks behind the scenes who are crafting the BigCommerce developer experience, from SDKs and APIs to themes and documentation. Discover what they’re building, their tools of the trade, and learn about the technologies they’re passionate about.

Hi Chris, tell me about your path to BigCommerce.

My path to BigCommerce, and to tech in general, was non-traditional. I dropped out of college and pretty much had regular office/customer service type jobs prior to getting into tech. When I was 27 I started to teach myself how to code and it changed everything for me.

For more of a back story, I was homeless in 2016. It was then when my parents told me about how they were struggling and asked me if I could help them with anything. At the time, they didn’t know I was living in my car during that point in my life. It was then I realized that if I don’t do something with my life, who will help my parents when they are even in more need in the future? This is when I started to learn code, and three months later got my first job as a Jr. Web Developer. As of this year I can proudly say that my parents no longer need to worry about rent ever again.

I got my foot in the door in 2016 as a Jr. Front End Developer and worked on front-end technologies for about 4 years before being laid off during the pandemic. During this time, a company reached out to me and wanted to see if I’d consider a career in Developer Relations. After a few meetings they convinced me that it was the right choice considering my experience in creating technical content. That was over one year ago. Now I am here at BigCommerce as one of the Sr. Developer Advocates.

Tell us why you chose to work at BigCommerce.

Culture and the ability to learn new things are both very important to me.

Being part of DevRel at BigCommerce will allow me to continue learning new technologies and grow further in my career. In my opinion, BigCommerce is all about culture, results, and teamwork, which aligned with what I was seeking in my next opportunity.

What’s your favorite BigCommerce core value? What resonates the most with you?

My favorite BigCommerce core value is “Act with Integrity,” because it’s important to maintain the highest level of excellence in all that you do. If you work with integrity in a team environment, then your team will love working with you, and it builds trust. The importance of trust cannot be overstated. It allows everyone to be on the same page while making decisions that are good for the company and team.

What resonates with me the most is the fact that we are allowed to “Think Big.” This is essential to the creative process in DevRel. Our job requires us to think outside the box in order to improve our community of developers and help them reach their goals.

What team are you working on?

I am working on the Developer Relations team, also known as DevRel. My journey at BigCommerce has just begun, as I started in late 2021. However, I can already tell you that this team is very results-oriented, which is great for me, the developers in the BigCommerce ecosystem, and for BigCommerce.

A large part of my role at BigCommerce is to:

  • Develop expertise in one or more areas of the BigCommerce platform in order to serve as a key contributor within the product development process
  • Engage directly with developers in our online Community
  • Present at developer conferences, webinars, and other events

My immediate focus is to develop my BC expertise and build relationships with external BC developers and partners in the Developer Community.

Share something that we’d be surprised to learn about you.

I was an aspiring songwriter for 13 years before finally giving that up and moving into tech. I’ve written over 350 songs and performed in front of audiences as large as 6,000 people. But it wasn’t a waste. I am now more confident than ever when it comes to speaking in front of large audiences.

What’s the best career advice you’ve been given?

To stop comparing myself to others. Everyone grows at their own pace.

We all start from somewhere. 🌱

What advice would you give to your younger self and to others in tech?

I’ve learned that I’m capable of anything as long as I’m willing to put in the work. I’ve also learned that just because others don’t believe in you, doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. As far as advice that I would give my younger self and to others, I’d like to say:

To my younger self: Learn how to code sooner, don’t let video games be a distraction and make your health your #1 priority.

To other developers: You are more capable than you realize. You are also more valuable than you think. Aim high. 🚀

To others working in tech: We are very fortunate to be able to work in such a hot field. Make it a goal to continue learning new things. And if you’re not an engineer but want to become one — do it. I became an engineer at age 27 when everyone around me thought it wouldn’t be possible.

We’d like to thank Chris for sharing his time with us and giving us a look into his day-to-day life at BigCommerce. Have a question for Chris? Reach out to him on Instagram or leave a comment below! 😊

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