Our April spotlight of the month goes to Barclay Dunn, Senior Software Engineer. The spotlight recognizes Barclay’s commitment to Brace Software’s Technical and Business Success. She talked to us about how Brace has contributed to her professional growth as well as her impact on Brace.
What is your position and what does that entail?
Senior Software Engineer: While we are primarily a Java shop building REST APIs and a proprietary rules engine, there is plenty of room to get involved in other facets of our technology stack built upon things like Vert.x, Kubernetes, PostgreSQL, and Elixir, just to name a few. I’ve worked on all of the above and more of the myriad components that comprise the Brace platform since joining in July 2020.
Tell me about your career before joining Brace and how you ended up here.
My degree is in art history & visual art, with a senior thesis comprised of a room full of sculpture. Princeton equipped me for everything but prepared me for nothing in particular, so I cycled through investment banking, then went back to get the undergrad prep for med school, but without a confirmed slot at any of my chosen schools, I started noodling around with computers.
Fast forward several years: Prior to Brace, I have held software and professional services roles at a number of entrepenurial startups, most recently Rent the Runway developing software supporting the warehouse operations and the customer support crew. The biggest draw to Brace for me was the opportunity to programmatically improve the lives of borrowers experiencing distress. The mission is worthy.
What is an exciting project you have been working on recently? What is your proudest professional accomplishment at Brace?
I worked on enabling single sign-on between our clients and Brace services, which allows borrowers a seamless experience when they transition to Brace’s service. I’ve been working on automatic programs to reduce technical debt by cleaning up old artifacts of activity. I am developing administrative tools to help us address when things (rarely, we hope) go wrong and we need to investigate with an eye to reduce Mean Time To Remediate (MTTR). In general, I enjoy working on things that are behind the scenes. I love working on tools that help people I know do their job more easily. If I do my job right, then Brace always delivers high quality service and no one need see how the sausage is made!
What is your favorite part of working at Brace?
The people are absolutely fantastic — smart, well-rounded, worldly. The environment is tremendously inclusive and everybody’s opinions are welcomed and heard. The hierarchy is very flat. I have had coffee with everybody from the CEO to my teammates (said coffee has to be virtual due to our bicoastal locations and also, right now, to Covid). I truly appreciate the openness and transparency.
What is something you would want others to know about Brace?
Despite being finance-adjacent, it’s no “bro” culture. Our book club read Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Dispossessed” in my first month with the company! We have had a poetry slam, a costume contest, and a trivia night. I’m really impressed with the diversity of interests as well as of the people, and I have real fun at our sprint retros AND our happy hours.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I’m a maker in many media, most of them haptically rewarding to compensate for a career using brain and keyboard. I’m a knitter, spinner, sewer, and general DIY-er. Also my husband and I watch a lot of comedy and sci-fi and maintain a several-hundred-day streak completing the NY Times crossword.