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Meet Christine, Hacarus’ Front-End and iOS Developer! (An Introduction to Our Development Team in the Philippines)

Welcome to the Hacarus Global Blog! For this series of interviews, I'll be interviewing Hacarus's development team in the Philippines! For this third interview, I interviewed Tin, Hacarus's frontend developer.

Rikka: Hi Tin, “Tin” must be short for Christine? It’s great to finally talk to you personally!
Tin: Yes! It's nice to meet you!

Rikka: Have you came to Japan before? And do you plan on coming anytime soon?
Tin: No, not yet. But I’m planning to go on 2020 spring- but just for travel! We’ve been planning for quite some time to go to Kyoto. In the Philippines, depending on the airline and campaign periods, for 800 pesos, you can get a one-way ticket. I think 800 pesos is around… 16 dollars! Which is really cheap. So, we’re just waiting on those campaigns!

Rikka: I’m glad to know you’ll be coming to Japan someday! Would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself- a brief introduction about where you’re from, what part of the Philippines, your work experience- anything along those lines that you’d like to mention!
Tin: I’m from the Philippines, my hometown is in Los Banos, Laguna. It’s the same town where Ninz, Adin, and I attended university. So after college, I started working for a company called Stratpoint Technologies. Initially, I applied for android developer position. I worked on- if you’re familiar with Blackberry OS- I worked on applications for that as well. Finally, I worked for iOS applications for, I believe, around four years and then I moved to a company here in Makati. It’s an Australian company where I also do iOS. Finally, I worked for Hacarus as an iOS developer.

Rikka: Could you tell me a little bit about your background studying computer science in school? What was it like?
Tin: Well, computer science was not my first choice in college. It was actually development communication. But because of the scholarship I had, I had to look for a science-related course. So I chose computer science. Actually, Both my brothers are computer engineers.

Rikka: So you, Adin, and Ninz met in class, right? Was that in your first or second year?
Tin: Yes! And I think we already met during our freshman years. During our third year in college, we became much closer friends. We were teammates for some class projects. We do work overnight and then going to school directly. Back then, we would do projects, code, get a little sleep and then do coding again. So we were always together. We were also part of a development team for registration in the university, so we got to work together as well there.

Rikka: Wow! You’ve gone through so much together as friends- it’s like a friendship developed by development.
Tin: You could say that!

Women Who Code: For the past 6 years, Tin has been deeply involved in the developing world, where developing has become second nature to her.

Rikka: What began your love for coding?
Tin: One summer, my brother gave me a coding exercise just for fun, and when I tried it out and got results I thought coding was so much fun being able to see results already and became interested in coding right after that experience.

Rikka: I see! And how many years total have you had work experience in developing?
Tin: Before college, we had client projects as well so if I were to add that in, it would be since 2013, around 6 years. I’m still learning! I still have a lot to learn with technology always advancing, so the learning never stops and it’s what makes developing so interesting.

Rikka: What programming languages are you most familiar with?
Tin: for iOS, that would be Swift. Right now, since I work with Javascript, I’m quite familiar with that as well.

Rikka:What is your favorite area of developing? Is it working on web development or application development?
Tin: Well, my first love was iOS development and then I came to love web development as well. But I still miss doing iOS development so I plan to do some personal projects so that I don’t end up forgetting anything.

Rikka: Interesting! Personal projects- could you tell me a little more about your personal projects and what you plan on doing?
Tin: Well, I haven’t started it just yet, but in the past, I used to develop for my travels because I like visiting places. I initially started an application that I can use when I travel but I haven’t worked on it for quite some time.

Rikka: I like that you have your own personal projects dealing with your interests. Speaking of interests, were you also interested in the field that Hacarus’ deals with, being in the medical industry and dealing with health?
Tin: That was one of the other reasons I had to want to apply to Hacarus. In my previous company, I worked on a project where we worked on fitness watches, so when I learned that Hacarus had these medical applications and all, I felt very much interested.

Rikka: Outside of engineering, did you have any work experience in other fields?
Tin: Nope! I think my whole life revolves around development!

Rikka: I think girls who code are awesome!
Tin: It’s really fun! We actually have a group here in the Philippines called Women Who Code- it’s a group of women who code. They really encourage girls to code. I attend it from time to time. Sometimes the group hold Hackathons, where we code overnight and have pajama parties- it’s so much fun! That one photo of Adin and Ninz actually was one of the hackathon events where they served as mentors!

Rikka: Wow that’s really great! And were the three of you also working as management members?
Tin: Ninz and Adin know the organizers, some of whom also organize other communities of programmers in the Philippines, the organizers of Women Who Code are also organizers of the iOS programming group SwiftPH. So they are well-connected!

Rikka: Have you ever thought of starting your own events or club?
Tin: We haven’t talked about it yet but we are all active in some group, for example Adin is active in the android developing group in Manila. Ninz in Python Philippines, and I am attending in iOS development, in the SwiftPH group. This is sort of our way of communicating with other developers since we don’t have other office mates! Most of the time the venues are here in Manila.

With her enduring love for coding and diverse experience, Tin makes a multifaceted and powerful developer.

Hacarus Philippines and Japan take a photo in Cebu: Tin (left, sitting down) with Tomomi, Ninz, Adin, and Kitora-san

Rikka: Interesting! Can you tell us a little more about what you do in Hacarus?
Tin: Before, there’s this application called Hacarus Fit. I continued developing the iOS application for a period of time. Now, I work on the frontend part for Hacarus’ internal product. I work as a web developer.

Rikka: Wow! Okay, so you have experience in web developing, iOS, and android development- that’s amazing! You have such a large variety of experience. How did you come to know about Hacarus? From the interviewing both Adin and Ninz, I know they both said they liked Hacarus because it was remote work- is that also one of the same reasons for you?
Tin: It’s true. The first company where I had worked before, I could commute back to my hometown. For the second company, I stayed here in Makati where there’s so much pollution and so much noise. I don’t think I can handle that long-term. When they told me there was an opening for an iOS developer, I told myself “I should try that!”. Manila is very chaotic and crowded and working at home, especially since my parents are getting old as well, I thought it would be much better for me overall.

Rikka: So you had joined Hacarus a few months or weeks after Ninz and Adin, is that correct?
Tin: I think they were about a year, more or less, in Hacarus. And then I joined!

Rikka: What did you feel about doing remote work at Hacarus? Did you feel there would be difficulties in communication or being left out in anything?
Tin: Before Hacarus, when I was working at an Australian company, I was somewhat already working remotely, but in an office. So, for communication with clients, I think I was able to adjust. As for working on my own, in my room everyday, as I do now, I think my social skills have gotten a bit rusty, but I was able to adjust to this as well and make time for friends outside office hours and social life.

Rikka: That’s great! I’m glad to hear that you’ve got your work-life-balance down! Oh- hey!!! I see Ninz- and Adin in the background! You’re all together now hahaha! Do you guys usually work together?
Tin: Well, no. But we meet twice a month here in the new office, the Manila office. Before, we would usually go to my hometown in Los Banos. There, we’d rent a room and do meetups as well. Most of the time we don’t see each other, since we get tired of each other’s faces already.

Rikka: Hahaha, do you all live quite far apart from each other?
Tin: Yes. Adin is almost in Manila area. I’m two hours away from Manila, and Ninz is about 3~6 hours away from Manila, depending on the traffic.

Tin's pursuit in opportunities for growth as a developer brought her to Hacarus, where she now explores and plays a role in web development.

Rikka: Could you tell me a little bit about past projects you’ve had? With work, any client work or anything you have in mind that you’d like to point out.
Tin: I actually enjoyed working with fitness applications, that being HacarusFit. In my previous company as well, I enjoyed working with a fitness tracker, similar to Apple Watch, a fitness watch application. With those projects, I was able to use the product, not in a sense where I was using it for testing purposes, but because I actually could use it and it helped me. I think those are projects to me that I like. It motivates me a lot being the user and developer.

Rikka: What are some differences that you find with working at your previous company and Hacarus, now? Are there any learning experiences you had in either companies that you gained?
Tin: Before I worked in my previous company as a developer for other clients so I’m working for products that are already have things in mind and just us implementing it would be the job. But in Hacarus, we have internal projects so you can suggest and actually help build the product so I think for me- here at Hacarus, I can grow so much more as a developer with more learning opportunities as opposed to just implementing and not taking part in building the actual product as was the circumstance in the past.

Rikka: What do you think about being in Hacarus? Anything you feel it interesting, enjoyable, and a great learning experience?
Tin: Working for Hacarus is fun because it’s not stressful to talk to coworkers. A lot of our coworkers is around our age range as well around 20~30 years old. Everyone is approachable and it isn’t scary to go up to them or work with them, making it enjoyable- having fun while working too. And for me, since I came from mobile development transitioning to web development, I somewhat initially have a lot of things to learn. But they give me the opportunity to transition. I’m learning so much thanks to that.


Rikka: Thank you so much, that concludes our interview! It was so nice to talk to you, and I hope I can meet you guys one day! I’ll see you sometime again soon! Maybe when Marcel is video chatting with you guys in the office!

Tin: Thank you! I hope to meet you also! It will be fun too, especially with a few girls on the team! Yes! Sometimes when we are in a meeting, just wave!

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