As a student, software engineer Jackson Cleary knew the stress of living on a budget. The experience was valuable for his current role at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), where he now builds tools to help others improve their financial situations. “I lived pay-to-pay for years, so I understand the stress that comes with facing financial stress and the impact it can have on individuals and those around them,” says Jackson, who studied computer science at the University of New England, Armidale.
“It’s very rewarding to be building these tools, which I use myself,” he says.
Impacting millions of lives
Jackson’s role involves writing code that powers things such as Cash Flow View and Spend Tracker on CBA’s CommBank app. These tools allow customers to track their income and spending each month across a number of categories. “The work I do impacts millions of customers,” Jackson says.
Jackson also loves his role because it’s all about problem-solving. “I get paid to solve puzzles,” he laughs.
“Early in projects, our team gets together to understand what problems we’re trying to solve and the different approaches to solving them.”
A happy and healthy team is vital to getting the best out of people, and Jackson helps ensure this through his role as team ‘scrum master’. “This means identifying blockers, protecting people from unnecessary meetings and ensuring any other needs are met,” he explains.
“It helps the team focus on the jobs they’re good at (and enjoy), making the team function more efficiently and the team members happier in their roles.”
Jackson emphasises that it’s also paramount to look after your own health and wellbeing. “You need to prioritise your physical health because software engineering is a pretty sedentary job,” he says. “You need to make time for exercise, and you’ll feel better for it.”
Jackson also advises budding software engineers not to be overwhelmed by the various programming languages and frameworks (the technologies used to write code for programs). “Pick one or two technologies and learn them well before you pick something else up,” he says.
Jackson’s career path:
>> Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours), University of New England
>> Graduate Software Engineer, CBA
>> Software Engineer, CBA
This article was brought to you in partnership with CBA. It was originally published in Careers with STEM: Code 2019. You can read the e-magazine for free online here.
Author: Jake Dean
Jake Dean is a South Australian writer and surfer with a passion for science, the environment and conservation.