YLD Perspectives: Mitchell Vivanti
by YLD • January 31st, 2022 • 5min
For our new series of YLD Perspectives’ interviews, we’ve invited our ‘insiders’ to shed light on their dreams and aspirations, career growth as well as their experience working at YLD.
Could you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Mitchell Vivanti and I’m a Senior Software Engineer at YLD. Currently I’m based in London and I work as a fullstack developer, doing everything from frontend to backend, mobile, and infrastructure. My role at YLD involves helping our clients to achieve specific goals that they have set by engaging in best practices and architecting scalable solutions.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I think it has changed quite a bit throughout the years. To begin with, I wanted to be an inventor or a scientist. Then at university I was looking into working in asset management but not soon after I fell in love with computing and went into software development.
What attracted you to the tech industry?
I found that it naturally gave me the problem solving and innovating challenges that I was looking for; I did a university module and I was hooked. I had an idea for a start-up and from that it gave me the drive to learn all these different facets in order to build what I wanted to build. So just the idea to be able to build anything was very much what brought me into the tech industry.
What did you do before joining YLD?
After finishing university, I was looking for software development jobs, with a focus on the financial industry. I found an internship at a start-up which was a good first step in my career that gave me a fair amount of knowledge and insight into software development. I later got a job at a financial company that was the combination of the financial and software worlds I was looking for. Soon after I started working at another start-up which was fully tech focused. Come 2020, my plan was to do a sabbatical year, so I could visit Japan for three months and work on my own start-up. Unfortunately COVID-19 pandemic hit and, although I couldn’t do my trip, I’ve started working at YLD and had a chance to keep working on my own project.
What drew your attention to YLD?
What really sold me was the tech focus! I could notice, from speaking to people like Sérgio Ramos (Head of Engineering) and Fábio Oliveira (Managing Director), that it was the kind of environment I love and I was eager to immerse myself in. I also felt that YLD was a place where I could grow and learn from other people, which is something I always look for in a workplace. YLD has an amazing team of engineers who are just as passionate as I am about tech.
What three words would you use to describe YLD?
I would say: fun, engaging, and innovative.
What personal traits do you think help you succeed in your job?
I would say plasticity: being able to adapt to the situation and to take challenges as presented. As a professional, it’s important to adjust yourself and your expertise to the changes in requirements and types of workloads. A lot of the expertise which I have been lacking I’ve definitely managed to improve over the last years, with communication skills being one of them. I would say the challenges for me were always more around social aspects of work than the coding itself.
As an engineer and a techy person, being able to communicate efficiently and to establish the right processes are some of the most difficult procedures to get the hang of. You need to make sure that there is alignment in management and all those forms of communication you build up over time. A lot of people actually struggle with it and so they go down the path to become software architects, where you mostly focus on coding, contrary to the CTO or any similar role where you get more of the human side. Personally, I want to be in the intersection of those, being able to deliver great results across different roles.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career?
There was one time I was being interviewed for a job which didn’t go quite well for me. I was wondering why I didn’t do so well to which the hiring manager replied: “You have to think about what kind of job you are going for. There are certain jobs where you are using programming as a tool and others where you are actually thinking like a computer”. I didn’t quite get it at the time but after working you kind of understand that there are people who just do programming to achieve a certain result without necessarily thinking of why the computer operates in a certain way. Then there are people who actually understand computers, the logic and the way these machines operate — they will thus deliver on a higher standard. I can now see a huge difference between these two approaches to work and I think it’s a really important thing to bear in mind.
What advice would you give to someone going through the same route as you?
I would say to learn as much as you can early on, and not to worry about being perfect. In programming, being efficient means being able to learn and take on board not necessarily the small details but also different paradigms. Tech industry does change a lot and you need to learn and adapt to new concepts just as quickly! There are certain paradigms in programming that you might learn at the very beginning and then further down the line, as the ecosystem changes, you will acquire a different type of proficiency you didn’t have before, innovating at a rate that was not achievable before. It’s actually one of the reasons software development has progressed at a much faster pace compared to previous years.
What in the engineering field or tech industry in general are you excited about at the moment?
There are definitely two areas: one is AI although not in the sense of what we understand of it. In the future I do think we will have AI systems so advanced that they will almost achieve the type of innovation and adaptability that humans have sometimes in their way of thinking! I imagine them having interoperability to actually string concepts together — that’s going to be a huge thing! The second thing is blockchain, the Internet of value. We will see, even during the next couple of years, a different way of life with digitalisation of almost everything on a blockchain. Whereas now we have a network of information and data exchange, I foresee blockchain having real value (or at least perceived in a different way from what it is right now) — very excited to see what’s coming next!
What inspires you or keeps you motivated?
For me it is all about challenges — I don’t do well when I’m bored (smiles). I need something that makes me think and challenges my skills. So I would say challenging work in challenging projects, solving problems and making things that people will be able to use.
Reading articles or looking out for other content can actually drag me down — you can easily feel left behind and second guess your own achievements. You see the end result yet you normally don’t get to actually see the hard work and the long effort that was taken to get to that stage, which can be years! As somebody who is experienced enough you actually realise these things aren’t always good to look up at as they can really demotivate you. What can, in my opinion, motivate you are new technologies that inspire you to learn more. So for me it’s about finding that balance of not reading too much about the achievements but rather the substance of what they have achieved.
What are you looking forward to in the future with YLD?
Working on more projects, achieving more goals and playing more of the Among Us game (laughs). Generally having a good time and working in the blockchain industry. I look forward to working with many more new clients and so far it has been an interesting journey.
Written by YLD • January 31st, 2022
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