Company culture

Canary Q&A with Hasintha Attanayake

Canary Q&A with Hasintha Attanayake
Lucy Jedlin
Lucy Jedlin
minute read
November 2, 2022
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Hasintha Attanayake joined Yellow Canary in July 2021 as a Data Analyst, and has recently moved into a new role as a Software Engineer.  Hasi’s unique ability to distil complex data and engineering processes into plain language has been both invaluable for our customers, and our internal team, where he regularly runs internal L&D sessions.  On the weekend, you’ll catch Hasi recording an episode for his podcast, or out for a walk with his dog.

1. Can you explain your role at YC?

I first started as a Data Analyst, a somewhat misleading name as the majority of what I did was actually Data Engineering.  Data Engineering is all about my favourite data acronym - ETL - extract, transform and load.  Businesses around Australia use a multitude of payroll, time and attendance, and HR information systems which all have different formats.  As a Data Analyst, I ensured that complex data sets were standardised into a format that could be consumed by YC’s payroll compliance solution.

A few months ago I moved into the Engineering Team as a Software Engineer.  My role is to develop and improve features that our internal team need and help maintain our core platform.  This varies from creating a button which allows our users to download a brand new report, to work which is less visible but improves how things work under the hood.

2. What is your background before coming to YC?

I studied a B.Eng (Industrial Chemistry / Chemical Process Eng), B.Sc (Chemistry & Pharmacology) with the intention of working in chemical engineering.  I changed lanes and joined the Robotic Process Automation Team at Revenue NSW where I found a love for analytics.  I studied night school at TAFE on database design and development to solidify my grounding in the big world of data.

3. What has surprised you most about working at YC?

What stands out to me the most is the amazing environment and incredible, supportive people.  We have a very high calibre group of employees, which means I’m constantly learning from everyone.  Outside of my immediate role, I’ve been exposed to new concepts, from industrial relations, enterprise agreements and awards, to accounting principles.

4. What advice would you give to someone wanting to break into software engineering?

When I was working in data, I was constantly in awe of what the developers were working on (and still am).  Even though they were using a different language and doing completely different work to me, I read up on and implemented their best practices in my own work in the ETL space.  I am doing my best to be as teachable as possible, to learn from the knowledgeable and experienced engineers here at YC.

Being self taught, I’ve found it important to remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint.  My journey to becoming a software engineer hasn’t been straight forward, but the learnings I’ve gathered along the way have all compounded.  To hone your skills, I’d recommend picking a tech stack to focus on, keep building on the side, and read read read!

5. What’s your special skill?  

Communicating with my stakeholders, both internal and external, and bringing them into my world.  I’ve led a few development sessions at YC to improve our internal data literacy.  In my case, often everything technical gets reduced to a food analogy.  

6. Where can we find you outside of work?  

Walking my dog Lexi, out running in the park, buying juice at Parklea markets, or recording my latest podcast episode.  Check out Monologues by Hasi wherever you get your pods!  I’m also constantly plotting my next holiday and have recently returned from a trip to the NT and Uluru, it was incredible!

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