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Life at Duffel

A day in the life of a software engineer at Duffel

A day in the life of a software engineer at Duffel
Igor de Paula
Jonny Blackler
Igor de Paula, Jonny Blackler
24 March 2022

Igor de Paula is a Software Engineer at Duffel – he has been on the team since February 2019. We recently sat down with Igor to chat about his love for basketball, his journey from F1 to Duffel, and his work on engineering documentation.

What are three things you enjoy outside of work?

I love playing basketball, but don’t have the patience to watch it.

I picked up skateboarding not too long ago. It’s very rewarding to learn how to do new things and feel more comfortable on the board.

I really enjoy cooking, mostly Italian or Mexican food.

What has been your journey into tech?

I got really into F1 in high school and entered this competition where we built and raced go-karts, so I went to school to be a mechanical engineer. That’s when I first learned about writing software and I just really enjoyed how easy it was to get value out of a few lines of code. I was writing Matlab scripts to parse my chemistry lab data sets into the reports and sharing that with my classmates – it felt great to help people save a couple of hours of work. I enjoyed writing code way more than fluid dynamics and Laplace transforms, so eventually I switched my major to computer engineering.

After I graduated I went to work at a healthcare records software company called eHana. It was a .NET shop and they had this legacy piece of software that would dynamically generate pieces of UI. There wasn't a lot of bandwidth to focus on user experience and visual design. That’s when I learned I cared a lot about it and started gravitating more towards building user experiences.

After I left eHana, I travelled for a bit and started working on a business idea – it feels like ancient history at this point. Until one day, our co-founder Tom reached out about Duffel and I’ve been here since.

What does day-to-day life in your role look like?

I always try to start my day with code reviews, I find that it’s a good way to ease into the day. The way the day goes can range from very quiet with lots of focus time to very active with 1:1s, planning sessions, project kickoffs and reviews. Every so often we have engineering town hall meetings where engineers have space to share things they’ve learned and have been working on. We also have front-end afternoon ‘snack’ time where user experience engineers raise different topics about the codebase, technologies, project reviews, etc, or weekly ‘garden hour’. We break away from product work around the same time with the focus of making small, incremental contributions like adding tests, improving documentation, fixing bugs.

What do you like about the culture at Duffel?

We always say people come first and it’s true. I feel comfortable being my genuine self. Every single person I’ve interacted with had something valuable to offer. My peers are so smart, driven and willing to offer support. And my managers have always been really good at sharing actionable and impactful advice on what I can do to better myself as an engineer. I’m grateful to look back and see how much I have grown, in great part thanks to all of these folks.

Which project/achievement/campaign are you most proud of delivering at Duffel?

Definitely the Duffel docs. That project included documenting our API with openAPI schema, building the plumbing to consume that schema, and then building a beautiful, helpful interface for it. I’m particularly proud of it because it was a very high impact project and ever since it went up we’ve gotten lots of positive feedback and folks asking what did we used to build it – it was all in house.

Now, almost two years later it has stood the test of time. Engineers have no trouble contributing to the existing schema; documentation on how to contribute has been improved with more tools and tips, the UI has had two cosmetic updates and the docs site has been augmented with guides and a global search. Definitely proud of that one.

Describe your working life at Duffel in three words?

  • Challenging
  • Fulfilling
  • Unique

Duffel is always looking for talented new team members. Check out open opportunities for you to get involved in transforming the travel industry at duffel.com/careers.

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