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Meet the Team: Francis Okonkwo from Engineering

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Meet the Team is a recurring series on the PowerReviews blog, allowing you to get to know the people behind our success.

We recently sat down with Francis Okonkwo, Sr. Front-End Engineer, to chat about what it’s like to be on the PowerReviews engineering team and why he doesn’t eat food that requires the use of more than one hand.

Francis Okonkwo, Sr. Front-End Engineer at PowerReviews

What did you do before working with PowerReviews?
I worked for a small trading firm for about five years, on a really small team of about three developers. After that, I worked for Bank of America doing front-end work.

What does a day in the life of a Sr. Front End Engineer at PowerReviews look like?
No two days are exactly the same, since our days vary based on how close we are to our sprints or if we’re we’re releasing a new product. If it’s at the start of a sprint, there’s a lot of heads-down work, focusing on getting features completed. On those days, I’ll get to the office, go to my desk, get my headphones on and try to do as much work as possible. When I want to take a break, I’ll go talk with the Client Success Directors to get their feedback on the new features we roll out.

When did you first know you wanted to be a software engineer?
There really wasn’t one moment, but I’m creative and have always been comfortable with computers. I used to draw a lot of comics, and front-end engineering does bring some of those designing skills — working with colors and shadows and things like that.

I grew up in Nigeria so I was done with high school at 16. And in between finishing high school and moving to the U.S., my mom made me take this course on how to make websites, and I really liked it. Then while studying electrical engineering in college, I took a computer science class that I ended up really enjoying. So I changed my major to computer science and ended up getting my Master’s Degree in that.

What’s your favorite part about working on the technology team?
First of all, the people are great. I did interview quite a lot before taking this position, because I wanted to get my next role right. And I like the energy here, and I really like my team and my manager.

But also, the impact you can make as an individual engineer here is really impressive. You have engineers taking ownership of really core functionalities or offerings. The work I’ve done at PowerReviews in the year that I’ve been here has easily been the most challenging work, as well as the most rewarding.

Do you have any quirks?
I don’t like eating foods that require more than one hand because I like to keep one hand clean when I eat. I just feel vulnerable when both of my hands are dirty — I can’t answer the phone, I can’t stop my kids from doing something they’re not supposed to. So I do my best to keep one hand clean, no matter what I eat.

What’s one thing that people in the office might not know about you?
My brother was born on my third birthday, so we have the same birthday even though we’re three years apart.

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