Backwards Front-Engineer (Startup Stories 17.10)

 Daniel Choi, Trove,         HF 2017

Daniel Choi, Trove,         HF 2017

My job at Trove has been more fun, educational, and challenging than I ever thought it would be. So much has happened over the course of the last ten months. When I first started coming into the office, we were in the midst of a name change from Notion AI to Trove AI to, finally, Trove. Our central product has gone through three major iterations and countless minor iterations. I’ve learned an incredible amount from my coworkers, especially my boss, Joe, from the discussions we’ve had about the software tools we use and design.

I work as a quality engineer at Trove, or as Joe likes to call it, “backwards front-end engineer.” We work on parsing human digestible information and try to translate it into program actionable information. This involves using image matching and optical character reading to identify different UI elements, as well as obtaining data to verify. The QE team works in Python, and our infrastructure consists of layers of tests, steps, views, components, and interactors. I work closely with the cloud team, since we have several applications that perform as dummy (test) clients that request information from the cloud.

Most of what I’ve learned has come from discussing solutions, receiving code reviews, talking about best practices, and brainstorming possible restructures for our code base with Joe, the QE team lead. Some examples of things I’ve improved at are using list comprehensions, context managers, and function wrappers.

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The desk pictured above is actually in the new coworking space that the Trove co-founders have invested in, and is known as Cahoots. The space is actively being worked on, so our move-in date was actually delayed from the end of summer to about November. Below are some pictures of the day before we moved in from across the street.

The new co-working space is also dog friendly! Since Trove is a large proponent of work-life balance and has flexible work hours and remote work, many of my co-workers have dogs. I’m big on both dogs and cats, though I have to say dogs are cute, provided I’m not the one training them. I have to say, out of all of the dogs below, Sandwich (the corgi licking my cheek) is by far the cutest and my favorite. Also, with a name like Sandwich, how can any other dog be cuter?

With Trove’s emphasis on work-life balance, I find myself with a lot of free time after work. I spend my evenings reading, playing video games, and spending time with my friends. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a homebody, so perhaps my evenings could get a bit more exciting.

Overall, I’m really happy about working at Trove. I get to work on interesting and hard problems while continuing to grow and learn as a software engineer. I’m always excited to go into the office, especially since I never know if Sandwich will stop by and say hello!


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Daniel is a 2017 Hacker Fellow who studied Computer Science at the University of Michigan. He is currently working with Trove in Ann Arbor.