Jairo Pava
Nov 22 · 6 min read

Software engineers have choices today.

Do you prefer to work in an office, from home, or even a campervan traveling the country?

How would you like your time off, compensation, or retirement packages?

For which industry would you like to work?

It seems like the options are endless.

As an engineering manager who recently transitioned jobs, the amount of choices I had was both exciting and daunting. And it really took a lot of reflection to realize that what truly mattered to me was not so obvious.

Perhaps it’s not so obvious to most of us either.

Enter Panorama Education.

The recruiter described it as a mission-driven EdTech company. Its mission is to radically improve education for every student backed by a strong set of core values embodied across the organization.

I didn’t know it then, but being mission-driven and having a strong set of core values were about to become my most important reasons for joining Panorama.

For example, take Panorama’s core value of Focus on Student Impact:

“At all times, we remain focused on the impact we have for students and the families and educators who support them. What makes Panorama unique is our relentless focus on improving education, not just continuing the status quo.”

Think back to how satisfying it is to close a challenging development task that you’ve spent a long amount of time on. The tests have finally passed and the code is now deployed to production. Now onto the next task. That’s the cycle that I was used to.

Focusing on student impact stretches that cycle in both directions.

A recent feature that our team worked on, for instance, is called Student Check-ins. Check-ins routinely ask students about their well-being, learning environment, relationships, and more. This information is then used by schools to inform action at the system level and to support individual students.

Before writing a single line of code, engineers working on Check-ins collaborated closely with Research, Product, Design, and Leadership teams to understand for whom they were building the feature, why it was valuable, and how it needed to be built just right to best serve our students, teachers, and school administrators.

Our engineering manager noted her thoughts throughout the process in this way:

“As a former teacher, I know the importance of checking in with students on a normal day-to-day basis. I empathize deeply with our teachers connecting with students throughout this pandemic and it makes me so proud and humbled to know we are building the tools to enable our student voices to be heard.”

This collaboration continued throughout the development, testing, and acceptance process all the way to production deployment.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Engineers are then given insight into feedback during the sales and demo processes with customers. It was very exciting for our engineering team to hear “That’s huge!”, “Wow. This is all really cool!”, and “I love how easy it is!!” from real customers about the code that was written.

And finally, imagine seeing the value of your product really come to life when you see the impact it has on students.

Check-ins was released during the COVID-19 pandemic which was a tough time for students and teachers everywhere.

We know there are students who need social-emotional or academic support they aren’t getting. With Check-ins, we’ve heard many stories of students receiving the help and support they needed from their teachers who may have otherwise found it more difficult to do so given the challenges that they too were facing.

Our products and features at Panorama Education are largely built in the same way. A lot of collaboration with smart and driven people from diverse backgrounds that are all focused on student impact. Our mission and core values resonate with us.

I am now convinced.

Out of the many options that we have as software engineers, being mission-driven and having a strong set of core values are now at the top of my list because it makes our day to day work feel meaningful and impactful.

Perhaps they will make the difference for you too. They certainly have for many of our software engineers.

Below are two more stories from Dan Franklin and James Tubbs who have different perspectives but similar experiences in making a positive impact on students.

Dan Franklin — Software Engineer — Data Operations Squad

Dan Franklin

At Panorama Education, I am on the Data Operations team. Panorama works with thousands of schools, and our platform integrates with our client’s systems so that we can provide a comprehensive overview of every student’s performance. First thing each morning we check the results of each night’s work and address any issues that came up overnight. We want to be sure we present the most complete picture we can.

Our focus on students means that we analyze every issue from the viewpoint “How can we get this information up to date quickly while ensuring its accuracy?”. Whether an issue is due to changes in one of the many student information systems we connect with, or changes at the school or district, our priority is to identify an action we can take — adapting to the school or SIS, not expecting them to change to adapt to us.

With up-to-date information, teachers, guidance counselors and other concerned educators are alerted to potential issues with every student, and can see the impact from their previous interventions. Students are helped the most with timely actions and rapid feedback, and our work is essential to making that happen. We may never meet the educators we’re helping, but we know we’re making a difference every day.

James Tubbs — Software Engineer — Data Operations Squad

James Tubbs

Thinking back to pre-Panorama, where I was a recent college graduate who was just looking for a job during a pandemic, I didn’t have a particular preference in what type of software I wanted to work with. I had the common interest of wanting to work with a company that has a clear mission and strong values, and it was great to find a company that is actually living its values.

Through the Client Success team, it’s been amazing to see the effect that EdTech companies can have on students across the country. I’m sure I speak for most engineers when I say I’ve never gotten to personally talk to a client. However, through the CS team, I’m continually reminded that the work I do is one of the vital pieces in a large puzzle. Like Dan, I’ve gotten to see the impact we have on clients as part of the Data Ops team. Fixing issues with analyzing data, whether that means making incremental changes to our current codebase or developing action plans for issues with other departments, ensures that teachers and students are never left behind when it comes to Student Success.

We’re never left in the dark when it comes to seeing how Panorama Education has impacted students. Through weekly team meetings, we hear personal experiences from students and teachers about how they’ve been able to use Student Success. Our leaders in the technology department have done a great job of highlighting the long-term vision for our product. We’re motivated to improve current features of the product while continuing to expand the scope of what Student Success means. The desire to bring positive change to education systems is palpable, and the visibility into the results of our efforts is always appreciated.

Building Panorama Education