The String and Key Crew: Greg Green
As part of our ongoing employee spotlight series, we’ll be profiling colleagues who inspire us. Today, meet Greg Green.
Company Role: Senior Frontend Engineer
Most likely to: Go down a rabbit hole to figure out “why?”
Secret talent: Knowing weird facts
From dreams of becoming an astronaut, to majoring in sociology, and even becoming a plumbing salesman, our Senior Frontend Engineer Greg has delved into a diverse portfolio of work and has held many different career aspirations. But as fate would have it, this Jamestown, NY native made his way to Durham, NC where a friend of a friend told him about a job at String and Key, and he has been in our Client Engineer team ever since. This trivia aficionado is a fan of the Buffalo Bills (even through the playoff drought) and of Buffalo wings (they should only be eaten with blue cheese, never ranch, thank you very much.)
Let’s get to know a little more about Greg.
What do you do, and what does your typical workday look like?
I’m an engineer on the client team, where I work to build functionality and squash bugs on our web application. Most days, I grab a cup of coffee and a light breakfast and head to my home office. Usually we have a standup meeting with fellow members on the client team to share what we’ve been working on. After that, I’ll start working on new features and fix bugs with our web client, with some breaks in between to discuss said new features. I’ll also help make architectural choices and discuss any issues people on the team have run across.
What’s your favorite part about working at String and Key?
I really like how inclusive and welcoming everyone is at String and Key. Everyone is willing to help figure out a problem or answer a question when you run into something you can’t answer yourself. Everyone has been so friendly when we’ve gotten to meet in person (and via video call for social events).
What excites you about your job?
I love to solve problems — whether it’s a bug that is tricky to figure out or how to build something that is easy to maintain and easy to use and, luckily, I get to do that as part of my role! There’s something really satisfying about fixing that bug or adding a new feature to our app. Though the end result for our team is less tangible, I like to compare it to how a carpenter would feel when building a great rocking chair or a swordsmith would feel when finishing up a sweet katana.
What do you find most challenging about your role?
I think it’s staying up to date on all the separate libraries used when building web applications. There’s so many of them. While some are pretty stable, some seem to change their application programming interface (API) every six months. The paradigms we use don’t change that often, but subtle changes can be pretty tough to track.
What are the values that drive you?
Quality is so important in software development and I want what I’m building to work well and be easy to use. If a product doesn’t perform well, people aren’t going to want to use it and they will never trust you with their data or their dollars. Knowledge and learning are really important too and can help out tremendously with quality, since knowing the best tools and techniques to build a good product can make everyone’s lives easier. And knowing why and how something works (or why something doesn’t work) really helps keep bugs out of what you’re building.
How do you stay on top of your game?
I’ve been really lucky to have some great mentors and former coworkers in my career that I still keep up with, along with some great current coworkers. We share articles, talk through problems, and discuss what has been interesting to us lately. Outside of real human interaction, I’ve found resources like Twitter, Reddit, and Hacker News to be great for finding new ideas and techniques.
What drew you to tech and what excites you about the industry?
When I went to grad school, I thought I was going to end up doing something with social media. It was around the time of the Arab Spring protests and it was great to see how social media could be used to connect people. I don’t have such a favorable impression of social media now (and maybe, more specifically, the companies that have built social media networks), but I think that being able to use tech to build connections and bridges is invaluable. Whether that’s building communities, linking businesses to data that can help the environment, or connecting a consumer with a product or service that can make their life better.
What’s one thing — either industry-related or not — that you’ve learned in the last month?
We have a lot of really smart and talented people here at String and Key and recently different groups within the company have been giving presentations about their professional background. One of these was on insurance itself — from how insurance came to be a thing to factors that are used to set rates. As someone who has never worked in the insurance domain, this was fascinating and really useful in my day-to-day work. It also helped fill in a couple of gaps about the “why” we do things the way we do.
If you could swap places with anyone at String and Key, who would it be and why?
There’s a lot of good candidates for this, but I think it would be someone from the insurance technology team because there’s an intersection of data, medicine, and sociology which are all things I’m interested in.
What unexpected subject could you give a one-hour presentation on with no advance prep?
For something related to my career, it would probably be React development; how to use it, how it works, the best practices, and the best architectures to use when building a large React application. For something outside of my career, I think I could fill an hour on networking technologies. Things like ethernet standards, passive optical networks, cellular technologies, etc.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
Like most people, I spend a lot of time with loved ones and friends. Also, depending on the season, I tinker with and read about tech, enjoy Buffalo Bills football (and other sports), read about history and politics, volunteer in voter registration and get out the vote drives, and travel to see the world and experience different cultures. I really like sitcoms too. And, I may not want to admit it, but I also like to watch some trashy reality TV.
Can you list five hashtags that describe your personality?#DetailOriented, #Inquisitive, #NightOwl, #Empathetic, #ClutteredButClean
Tapas or pasta?
Invisibility or super strength?
Are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable?
Texting or talking?
Speak every language in the world or be able to talk to animals?
Speak every language in the world.
Interested in working at String and Key? Join us!