Q&A With Megan Kiest-McFarland, LiquidPlanner’s New Senior Software Engineer

Tatyana Sussex | August 8, 2014

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We’re thrilled to have such an insightful and personable new senior software engineer join LiquidPlanner! Read on to learn more about how Megan Kiest-McFarland starts her day, what she values in her co-workers and the scientific bent she brings to her culinary endeavors.


Briefly describe an average work day at LiquidPlanner:

When I come in, I check my email for anything needing responses and handle those. Then I log in to our LiquidPlanner workspace to see what tasks are highest on my list. I start at the top and work my way down as much as possible by the end of the day. On a very good day, I can lock in on the tasks and write out the code. Often there are mini discussions that arise as I try to implement change and discover wrinkles that need to be cleared up.

How did you know LiquidPlanner was the perfect fit for you?

I enjoyed the interview process and meeting with people. I am really interested in what the company produces and the domains the development team was specifically looking to go into with my role.

How do you stay productive and focused during the day?

I have a very poor sense of time when I’m writing code. I set a timer on my phone for an hour-and-a-half to get up and move around a little bit, and to check in with teammates. This lets me readjust my focus and keep my brain from frying out.

What do you appreciate the most in your co-workers?

For me, the most important thing to have with my co-workers is good communication. It’s so helpful to be able to wander over to someone to see what they’re talking about changing, and to understand as much as possible about the entire company.

Do you have a ritual or routine to the start of your work day?

I usually grab a bottle of water to cool off from biking in, and then clear my email inbox before diving in to code for the day.

Your idea of happiness at work is:

Good equipment, interesting co-workers, and as few meetings as possible to get things done.

What book has most influenced your career?

Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby, by Sandi Metz

Advice for anyone looking for a job right now—interview tips?

When looking at job descriptions, still apply if you have most of the qualifications or you’re close on the number of years’ experience requested. Conversely, make sure you’re relatively qualified for the position and interested in the company before you apply. Be prepared for an interview. Make sure you are solid on your fundamentals. Think about interesting things you’ve done in the past that will show useful skills and/or personal growth. Be ready to ask more than basic questions of the person interviewing you. It can lead the interview in whole new directions and makes you appear engaged.

A few things you do outside the office?

I like to do scientific cooking. This means I use interesting chemicals and precise temperature control to have repeatable results. I sew some of my clothes and do jigsaw puzzles when my cats let me keep the pieces. I read a lot, all sorts of different things.