Hi! I’m Tom.

I’m a software developer at Empire State. I’ve always loved writing frontend and backend code, and I’ve never really been able to choose a favourite so luckily I get to do both here 😊
I work predominantly in Laravel and Ionic and I’m a bit obsessed with writing clean and modular code.

My journey before ES was a varied but overall great experience.
Out of varsity I was doing part-time work writing large and dynamic MySQL queries. At this point I wasn’t convinced I wanted to be a developer based purely on how we were taught to code at varsity – badly explained Java written on paper (yikes).
I needed something full-time so I started searching job boards for anything in IT that looked like it might be interesting. I came across an ad looking for a web developer to build kid’s educational games for a company in China that teaches English and I thought “that sounds kind of cool” … and really, that’s how I became a developer.

I wrote pretty bad (I didn’t know any better) but functional code to build their online English syllabus; sometimes I have nightmares about the structure of that code, and wish I could go back and rewrite the whole thing! 😂

After that I needed a more “serious” job and wound up working for a web and mobile development company where I was introduced to the wonderful world of frameworks and peer review. This played a big role in my upskilling.
Once I had spent a few years there it was time for a position with more potential so I hopped onto Offerzen, set up a profile and got started with the interviews. After every interview I felt like the position could work but were all missing something – the wrong tech stack, or I felt the company culture might be off.

Then I received the request from Empire State to have a chat, went to check out the ES profile, and it said “Just a bunch of people who want to build cool shit” – and I was immediately interested.
I had a video chat with Ed and it didn’t really feel like an interview; it felt like two techies having a chat about development and I was sold … luckily I think Ed liked me too! 😂

My favourite thing about working at ES is the people; literally everyone here is so friendly and invested in their work that it creates a really great company culture.
You jump on Discord in the morning and people are sending messages just to wish you a good day, or you go onto the “work” WhatsApp group and it’s just memes 😆

The aspect of my job that gets me out of bed in the morning is really a combination of things. I love writing code (most of the time), so convincing myself to do work is usually not very hard, but I have the extra motivation of wanting to supply value to a company that I feel values me. ES is like a family – I want to go online and see how everyone is doing and check the latest funny things that the group are up to! 😁

Life outside of ES? I have a wonderful partner and the coolest little daughter that I spend most of my not-working time with, but when there are gaps I have a lot of hobbies that sort of phase in and out.
I love to get outdoors to do some surfing, hiking and going to the beach. I play video games when there’s time for it, fiddle with anything tech related, and sometimes I pretend I’m a photographer.

I love helping people in any capacity that I can really. I feel most apps and websites are made to make people’s lives easier and there is a sense of reward in that. I know ES has done a lot to help people and communities and I am very excited about being a part of that in the future where I can hopefully build something to truly make a difference to any number of people 😊

Also, I once had a 4-year streak as ping pong champion at a church near me! 😂🏓

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