Our Engineering team develops the tools and features that are at the core of our system. They’re the masterminds behind our backend technology, ensuring the success of our entire operation. Today, we’ll meet Jarrett Hawrylak, our Director of Software Engineering. In his six years at ShowClix, he’s helped to overhaul the ShowClix platform to be a leader in high-demand ticket on-sales, and created many of the tools that organizers use to service large-scale events effectively.
Jarrett graduated from Penn State University in 2011 with a BS in Computer Engineering. He worked in the live software industry for several years before eventually bringing his talents to ShowClix, where he has been an invaluable asset in developing an industry-leading, quality product for our partners. After rising through the ranks from Production Support Engineer to Director of Software Engineering, Jarrett now focuses on supporting his fellow engineers and continuously developing the state-of-the-art technology that our partners have come to expect.
Tell us what a typical work week looks like for you.
The work can change pretty significantly from week to week, but my number one responsibility is to enable an excellent team of software developers to do great work. Primarily, this involves me helping the engineers solve any potential challenges, be that through whiteboarding, a code review, pairing, or simply suggesting they look into a new tool or technology. I’m also looking ahead at the efforts on our product roadmap to make sure they’re well-defined, and that our timelines are accurate to match the scope of the work and the number of developers we can commit to each item. Finally, I’m always developing processes or tools to help our department become even more efficient.
Outside of these primary responsibilities, I’m often performing operational tasks, in meetings with stakeholders, or on the phone with our partners or third-party vendors. Did I mention that I’m responsible for most of the hiring in the Software Engineering department? If you’re a developer reading this, reach out through our careers page!
As Director of Software Engineering, you’re responsible for the success of the team members who work under you. What’s one aspect of leadership you may not have expected to play an important role in your day-to-day duties, but is actually crucial to you and your team?
When I was in college, I was in a group that booked musicians to play shows, and through that I really learned how to organize information and plan to react to changing circumstances. Our team is constantly responding to suggestions, requests, and changing business goals, and it’s important to take these all in while keeping the team focused on meeting our strategic goals. Organizing the ones which are aligned with our company’s goals and planning which requests may be coming in the future helps our team work efficiently and consistently on building a great product.
Engineering has the reputation of being one of the most challenging majors you can undertake as a college student. What advice do you have for those looking to move into this field?
The best advice I can give is to be passionate about the field. Software Engineering is difficult for many to grasp, but it’s even more difficult to keep up with how rapidly it changes. If you’re reading articles or books about it outside of the normal work you’re doing, you’re probably several steps ahead of the game. Even better is to have a personal portfolio of code or projects up online. When I’m hiring, I love to see people’s work on an independent project or a contribution to someone else’s.
You’ve been part of the ShowClix team for quite a while now, and have witnessed our growth firsthand. What have been some of your favorite developments to the ShowClix system over the past several years?
It’s really difficult to name a single development, but I love when we design features that are versatile enough to be used by our event organizers for a variety of reasons. I think our applications feature is one of the best example of this, as it allows organizers to gather information on potential customers and take better control over who can purchase tickets. Many of my favorite efforts, though, have been internal and really added to our scale and stability. Improving our application insight through changes to our log delivery pipeline, then enabling preemptive application health alerts have really allowed us to keep our product running with the reliability that organizers in the live event space depend on.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
Usually, I’m listening to music, either at home or out at a show. I love to travel to small music festivals with eclectic curation and an unusual location. That can often intersect with another one of my favorite hobbies, which is traveling around the world. I’ve been to festivals in around a dozen countries so far, and I’m always looking for new ones to attend. When I’m not listening to music, I’m probably trying a new restaurant or bar.