Why do people embark on a new career path?
After all, starting anew can be a downright scary process awash with uncertainty. Yet one in five U.S. workers are likely to look for a new job over the next six months, according to a 2022 report from Pew Research Center.
Sometimes it’s because an individual has outgrown the role and wants to expand their skill set. Other times, it’s the pursuit of a richer company culture and more authentic human connections. For Sean Lawrence, it was somewhere in between — until he discovered an open role at Pulse Analytics.
Throughout his professional journey, Lawrence has consistently been driven by his pursuit of transforming extensive data into simpler context ripe for analysis. After interviewing at Pulse, however, there was no need to run intricate equations in order to weigh solutions against each other — the experience revealed that this was exactly what he had been searching for.
“Onboarding was a breeze,” Lawrence said. “My team had already invested time and effort into comprehensive documentation, and I spent two invaluable weeks learning and asking questions about the ongoing projects I’d soon be contributing to.”
Now, as a data engineer at the pharmaceutical biotech company, Lawrence is solving costly and complex issues while simultaneously forging tight-knit relationships within Pulse’s welcoming team culture.
“I even have a Settlers of Catan club going!” he added.
Built In caught up with Lawrence to learn more about his first impression at Pulse Analytics and why it’s been such an enriching experience for this new stage in his career.
What does Pulse Analytics do?
Tell me more about your role at Pulse.
I’m a data engineer, responsible for extracting new sources of data and developing the pipelines to keep those data both fresh and correct.
That’s intentionally a wide-ranging job description: My daily work will have me scraping HTML tables one week, and assessing the trade-offs between REST and GraphQL in another week. The scope of my work is practically limitless — but not my workload. My manager makes it a point to ensure we’re not getting slammed.
Having touched a wide array of different technologies in a short time here, I can only say that I am responsible for delivering reliable data from wide ranging sources — how exactly I deliver that is often my decision, or my team’s. No micromanaging here.
What was the onboarding process like for you? What was your favorite part?
Despite all the catch-up, Pulse gave me plenty of time to digest everything. Health and biotech is obviously a complex industry, so that onboarding time is critical.
My favorite part of joining Pulse was their warm welcome. I was afraid of fading into the background as a remote worker, but we all got together for a virtual happy hour after my first week. The folks here are just fun.
“I believe your day-to-day manager will either make or break your experience as an employee. In this case, he definitely made it.”
What pleasantly surprised you after you joined the team?
I didn’t know what to expect at all, because it is a small company and there wasn’t a lot of info online at the time — though we’re now very clearly working on that. What most surprised me was the emphasis on work-life balance. You would expect a startup of our size to expect 80 hours of work with no thanks or recognition; quite the opposite was true though. We even have a culture of lower-key workdays on Friday, provided your work is done.
When did you know you made the right choice in accepting your role?
Honestly, I wasn’t happy with my previous job, so the fact that it was the right choice was immediately obvious. Shoring up my confidence is my direct manager, JJ. He is honestly just a pleasure to work with, and we are constantly bouncing ideas off each other. My other teammate, Troy, is also a great colleague from whom I am always learning from. In short, I knew I made the right decision when I collaborated with my team for the first time.
I believe your day-to-day manager will either make or break your experience as an employee. In this case, he definitely made it.
“I was afraid of fading into the background as a remote worker, but we all got together for a virtual happy hour after my first week — the folks here are just fun.”
How have you hit the ground running since you joined Pulse, and what exciting projects have you accomplished so far?
I was surprised how quickly I took on responsibility for an important project — and for me, that’s a good thing. After onboarding, I had two sprints with a low-risk item to get my bearings.
Once I was more comfortable, we launched an investigation into how to solve a costly business problem. There was a couple months of iterative building, before we had a live demonstration with the founder of the company. Of course, we nailed it. But that goes to show the trust and real responsibility that we have. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it is very rewarding.
What aspect of your professional growth are you most excited to evolve?
I am excited to keep learning. It’s really that simple — I love coding, and I love exploring new frameworks and technologies. Having the opportunity here to build and learn simultaneously is engaging, fun and fulfilling. But more importantly, I feel like my professional growth has hit light-speed because of the “work and learn” combo that keeps me so busy here!