Software Development Manager
Originally from Jiangsu province in China, Rachel relocated to Canada 20 years ago and is now a Software Development Manager at SAP Vancouver.
Growing up in the countryside of China, Rachel had a fairly typical upbringing playing with her cat, catching dragonflies, crickets, and earthworms. As a child, Rachel had strict training in math, physics, and other science subjects. She enjoyed her studies and had the goal of one day becoming a scientist like Madam Currie.
Now working as a software development manager, she’s not far off from what she envisioned as a child. That same thirst for knowledge and curiosity about the world continues to thrive within her. She enjoys being in nature, hiking and biking, and is enamored by the unlimited possibilities of technology.
When asked what innovation she would most like to see, she responded, “The first thing that comes to my mind is something similar to DeepCoder — an artificial intelligence system that can develop code based on the requirement and design. It could free up the software developers to focus on innovative ideas without being burdened by implementation details.”
If Rachel could go back and tell her younger self one thing, she would say, “We are blessed to live in an age where good software developers are highly valued and respected. If you enjoy what you’re doing, don’t settle, challenge yourself to be excellent.”
How would you describe your role in SAP Analytics Cloud?
As a software development manager, my main responsibility is to take care of my team and ensure delivery of innovative and high-quality products. I’m very proud of the team, which is made of talented and diligent developers who are fun to work with.
As a team, we work with Customer Experience and User Experience teams to refine the requirements, elaborate on new design ideas, implement the software, automate the deployment to testing and production systems, and support customer issues.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of my job is to innovate on our customers’ behalf. Out of thousands of requests from different stakeholders, I always research what our customers need. Part of my job is to influence the decision making so that my team focuses on delivering high-priority features with scalability, stability, performance, and quality.
What’s the most rewarding part?
It’s rewarding that I’m working on a product that helps thousands of customers uncover the “unknowns” and make data-driven decisions. I strongly believe we’re heading in the right direction by making the product perform well and easier to use for customers.
It’s also rewarding when we anticipate customers’ needs and design future requirements that our customers love.
What’s something you learned while working at SAP?
One thing unique about SAP is that every year employees can give their managers trust scores through a people survey. Reviewing the trust scores seriously helps build a culture of trust in the company.
SAP has a culture of honesty and authenticity, as well as exchanging ideas openly, which makes SAP one of the best companies to work for.
For someone fresh out of college, ready to embark on their career as a software developer, what advice would you give them?
I would tell them that a software developer’s job is much bigger than just coding. It’s about creating software that’s easy to use, stable, scalable, and maintainable.
Whenever you are assigned a task, even if it’s small, do it well to demonstrate your ability to solve the problem creatively and translate your solution into elegant code. Doing the small tasks well with the speed is your passport to land on your dream tasks.
Take time to think about the big picture and communicate your ideas on how your piece of code will be used by your customers. Think about how to make it scale and perform to support more and more customers, how to make your code easy to understand and maintain, and how to unit test and code review to ensure high quality.
What’s an upcoming feature or enhancement that you’re looking forward to the most?
I’m very excited about the new features such as AWS infrastructure support, embedded using common APIs integration, Natural Language Processing, Smart Assist on mobile devices, etc.
However, I’m most looking forward to a feature the my team just delivered. We have enabled all the cloud data sources for the trial users. As a trial user, you will be able to import data from cloud data sources such as Concur, Fieldglass, SAP Hybris Cloud, and SAP SuccessFactors, in addition to getting data from a spreadsheet.