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Employee Spotlight: In Conversation With Lee-Jay Cluskey-Belanger

Here at Tulip, our technical roles span two groups:

  • Product Engineering
  • Launch Engineering

Our Product Engineering team is a brilliant group of alchemist building new Tulip app features and functionality for our top tier global retail clients and prospects.

Launch Engineering is our specialized swat team responsible for marrying the Tulip solution and product architecture with the systems and environments that are unique to each of our clients. Launch sees the transformation of the retail industry daily and is the team called in to brainstorm and solve some of the most important data and implementation challenges faced by clients.

For Tulip’s next blog series, we’re nominating and recognizing some of our talent within the Launch Engineering team as they speak to their career stories and motivations in working for Launch, technical and leadership skills developed in these unique roles, and the cutting edge technology problems that they’re solving daily to bring the Tulip suite of products to our clients with each implementation.

Join us in our recognitions and in learning about the roles within the Launch Engineering team at Tulip.

This week, you’ll find us in conversation with Lee-Jay Cluskey-Belanger, Senior Software Developer at Tulip.

Tell us about your career story? How did you get to your current position at Tulip?

Lee-Jay: I started with Tulip in 2015 as a Jr. Developer after having coffee with a Co-op and fellow University of Guelph grad in 2015 (Thanks B.V.!). I was one of the first hires for the Launch Services team. The Launch team is responsible for integrating Tulip with our customers’ many systems.

I have been a part of many customer launches and have integrated with numerous client and third party services. Seeing multiple client launches end to end gave me a great understanding of how the entire Tulip system works; from the initial scoping phase / data mapping exercises, to integrating with some of our amazing partners (Adyen, Salesforce, Twilio, Radius8) to provide a complete package all under one roof.

I am now a Team Lead for the Launch Services: Integration team. We’re responsible for making sure all of the different types and representations of data get into Tulip in a scalable, secure and repeatable manner.

What education/experience/personality traits do you need to be successful in your current role within Tulip’s Launch team?

Lee-Jay: You need to be:

Flexible, have a solid foundation in customer service concepts and a willingness to learn on your feet, you need an ability to architect / write / debug code and also a high-level understanding of the entire product and how features / changes could affect other areas of the system, and most importantly: NO JERKS!

What skills have you picked up in Launch that are unique in dev roles and why did you target getting these skills at this point in your career?

Lee-Jay: The thing about Launch at Tulip that is different from most other dev roles across many organizations is that we, as a team, have to have a super wide perspective on the entire product offering.

Often, when integrating with a new client, Launch touches every feature that Tulip has to offer. This provides devs on Launch with a wide variety of skills such as working with our Ops team to make infrastructure level changes, working with the DB, writing APIs, and even creating front-end web components. Launch is truly a full-stack experience!

Give us a day in the life of a Launch team lead at Tulip?

Lee-Jay: No day is the same, but they all start with a latte!

I tend to structure my day around solving the following priorities:

  • Unblock the team
  • Triage incoming tickets / Scope new feature work
  • Review code, ensure best practices are being followed
  • Write code!

What problems are you solving daily for clients?

Lee-Jay: Connecting all of a customer’s internal services and data together in one place, helping reduce IT costs, and enabling them to utilize the power of Tulip to create even more tools for their employees is what Launch does!

I also work with the Solution Engineers and Dev Managers to scope out new features and ensure that they are being built in an efficient and maintainable way.

What do you enjoy most about your role and where do you feel you’re developing new skills that were not previously in your arsenal?

Lee-Jay: The Team Lead role in Launch is interesting because it is 50% development and 50% architecture / mentorship. Work in Launch allows me to further my development skills while also building leadership skills. With the additional support from Dev Managers and the Employee Success team at Tulip, Team Leads in Launch are enabled to become advocates / mentors for teammates and to help them find new ways to excel at their job. This type of a role I find special in that I don’t think it really exists in the same form anywhere else. I would go as far as to say this has been my most fulfilling role in my career to date!

The thing that I enjoy most about my role is that my main goal is helping others by providing technical mentorship to my peers. I often find that I am learning just as much as they are. In Launch and at Tulip, we are fortunate to be surrounded by so many incredible and smart people. This makes coming into work a joy and something to look forward to every day. There are always new challenges and I feel like our team has what it takes to truly make anything possible.

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