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Interviews / Software Engineers & Developers

Balancing the Grind with Jessie Auguste, Software Engineer at CybSafe

Jessie Auguste is a software engineer at CybSafe, a company that measures and tracks security behaviour to improve security controls and awareness activities.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’m a Software Engineer at Cyber security startup, CybSafe. I studied Psychology at university and found CybSafe a couple of years after when I was unsure what I wanted to do, and felt drawn towards the company’s mission.

I joined in the sales department to begin with, and felt that the product aligned with my behavioural science studies. I wanted to move closer to the product itself and moved across to Customer Success, where I began to see the possibility of retraining to join a technical team. 

In 2019 I started studying web development and software engineering whilst working full time. I made the switch into the Engineering department in Spring of 2020

I am a volunteer part of the leadership team for the organisation, Coding Black Females, a community which empowers black women to pursue and thrive in careers in engineering.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I try to start my days with a trip to the gym. Being active first thing in the morning helps me to get into a good headspace before work. 

At CybSafe, we work in cross-functional squads. Meaning my team is made up of engineers, product managers, designers and behavioural scientists. We meet at the start of the work day to discuss what we’re working on and what we need help with. The rest of the day varies a lot from day to day. Typically I will spend time pairing with colleagues and have some feature planning meetings.

At the end of the workday I like to leave my home to go for a walk. Part of my wind-down routine ahead of preparing for the next day, involves a nice bath, and some time reading a book.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes, we are a remote first company. It meant that I was able to travel around Europe in my van, whilst still working (and studying!) full time. 

I like having the flexibility to work from home, but also go into the office and see colleagues as it works for me.

It means I’ve been able to extend family visits to places outside of London, whilst still being able to keep up with work and not rush back.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

To me it means being able to have the time to contribute to causes outside of my full time role. 

I am on the leadership team of an organisation Coding Black Females.

I have started a podcast with my friend (and now colleague), Amber Shand. 

Work-life balance for me, means feeling supported in these adventures and having the encouragement to do so.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I have started to become more intentional about scheduling ‘me-time’. I block out time in my week for the activities I do for my own health, enjoyment and development. That includes having time in the evenings to read books and time in the mornings to go to the gym.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

All About Love: New Visions is a book I come back to, time and time again. “Visionary and original, hooks show how love heals the wounds we bear as individuals and as a nation, for it is the cornerstone of compassion and forgiveness and holds the power to overcome shame”.

It is a powerful reminder of how living a life filled with intentional acts of love, for ourselves and for others, can improve how we navigate the world and bring fulfilment. 

Myself and Amber Shand will be releasing a podcast series, Glowing in Tech: The Showcase on the 25th of May, all about navigating the tech sector and hearing from diverse perspectives from those in the industry, on how they succeed in doing so. It will be available on all streaming platforms, and you can follow @codingblackfems to hear more.

I write a blog on Medium where I document my journey and do my best to learn in public.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

My weighted blanket is something I couldn’t live without. It is so comforting and a big reason why my sleep quality has improved. 

8) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

It is very easy to fall out of routine, do not punish yourself when it does happen. I know that it can prolong the time it takes for me to get back into my ideal routine during particularly busy times, and it’s important to practice compassion when that does happen. 

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.