A behind-the-scenes look at the people who make us great.
Welcome to the Cogent Crew series, where we’re inviting you to get to know the people who design and build the remarkable software we’re known for. Throughout this series of short interviews, we’ll be sharing more about who we are, what excites us and what it’s like to to work at Cogent.
For the first interview in this series, Courtney spoke to Lessan about what he’s working on, his international move and what advice he’d give his younger self.
Name: Lessan Vaezi
Role at Cogent: Developer
Time at Cogent: 1.5 yrs
So Lessan, tell us a bit about you…
I’m a developer and I help build software solutions for people and companies. In a nutshell, we try to build technology solutions that help improve business processes, so that might be making it more automated, working better or more efficiently.
How long have you been a developer for?
Around 14 years. I graduated in 2003, but have been doing software development work since before graduating. I’ve taken a couple of years off here and there to do other things though.
A while back my wife and I spent time in Bosnia to help promote programmes for young adolescents that helped them form an identity around being of service to their community and making positive change in society. During that transition period of 12 to 15 years old, they’re really forming their identity, so it’s crucial in that time to create an environment that helps them form an identity around something, which in this case is being a positive change in society.
The programme has been really successful in different settings all around the world. There were stories of kids helping clean up their neighbourhood or lobbying a company to move their rubbish further away from their home, these kind of things. Of course, at that age, the scope of what they can do is limited, but the idea is that they start small but as they grow older and become leaders in society, they’re able to make positive changes at a larger scale.
So yeah, I guess you could say that apart from being a developer, I’m also really passionate about fostering positive change in communities. I’d like to be a bit more involved in international development circles, but really care about work that can be done anywhere in the world, not necessarily somewhere that’s in dire need.
Wow, that’s amazing. So how did you go from working on projects like that to working at Cogent?
I was ready for a change and joined Cogent a year and a half ago. It’s been pretty amazing during that time. There are many things that are great about it, but I think it’s primarily that the culture is very accepting, open, friendly, and transparent. Basically, you feel treated like an equal and everyone’s very trusting of each other.
People at Cogent are also very good at what they do, both technically and creatively. Everyone’s able to really push forward in their own line of work independently but also collaborate effectively and make significant contributions in a team.
At the moment I’m working onsite with one of our clients, helping the Qantas Jetstar Group with their hotel management portal called Hooroo. It allows Qantas and Jetstar customers to book a hotel, use frequent flyer points to make a booking or accrue points when booking a hotel. I work on the backend to improve the booking process and make it seamless for a customer. That includes the search, booking, payment and confirmation.
That’s cool. Do you work as part of a team on that or are you solely responsible for those improvements?
We’ve got several teams of software developers, but each team is generally charged with working on one product, or even one aspect of a product. For example, the team I help focuses on the backend booking engine, while another team focuses on flight and hotel packages, and another for booking luxury hotels. These are different products, so each also has a product manager to manage priorities, timeline, budget and efficiency.
But I hear you’re moving to New Zealand soon?
Yes, we’re moving in a couple of weeks. I’ve quite enjoyed Melbourne, but my wife Melissa and I are expecting a third child and have family in New Zealand which makes it easier.
The main obstacle was whether I would be able to find some work there, but I was very lucky because Cogent was really supportive of my desire to move and was able to find work for me that I could do remotely. Cogent really valued and respected my family priorities and even has a #parenting channel on Slack which is really active. We share information about what we experience as parents, ask questions and give each other guidance where we can. We also sometimes share photos of our children doing something weird, interesting or hilarious!
So with a new family member on the way, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Well I’ve been a developer for a long time, but one thing I’ve been more aware of lately is how I’m always trying to reduce the cost of change. There’ll always be changes in software and things that need to be added, removed, updated or simply changed. The decisions we make now have an effect on that, so now when I’m designing a piece of software I’m thinking about what steps I can take today to reduce the cost of changes in the future. I feel like it would have been useful if I’d thought about that earlier in my career.
We’re hiring! If you like the sound of what it’s like to work at Cogent, we’d love to hear from you. Head to our careers page to check out current opportunities and to apply!