Thanks to Tara Tjandra’s first company coding project, which was to create a custom emoji system, her Atlassian colleagues message her @GrumpyCat rather than @Tara, and customise their own nicknames too – everyone, right up to @TheBoss.
Tara also developed a skin-tone selector for emojis in the company messages. And then, she thought, why not add emoji gender modifiers? And create some new emojis, too. “The idea was, we have and use these emojis anyway, let’s flesh them out and make them of a really good standard,” Tara says. “Let’s see how much work it would be to make them better, more personal.”
Tara’s customisable emojis are in use throughout internal communications at Atlassian, and Australia’s largest tech company will soon offer the custom emoji system to clients. “I see my work coming to life pretty much every day,” says Tara, who is a full-stack developer, taking projects from the back-end beginnings to the front-end finishes.
“It wasn’t particularly difficult,” she says of the custom-named messaging code, “and I’m sure the others could’ve done it in a quarter of the time.” Her team’s senior developers were very supportive, though, encouraging her to ask questions and offer new ideas.
It was a love of problem-solving that got Tara into UNSW’s Bachelor of Computer Science program in the first place. “One of the best things I got out of my degree was learning to problem-solve, learning to question, and good techniques for finding things out – how to communicate. “It helped me learn what to ask and it made me more confident to talk to people. If you keep to yourself, you can only go so far.”
Atlassian’s founders are alumni, and return to campus frequently, including to recruit. Tara secured her job in 2016 and finished her degree before starting work in January 2017. “I met some of my best friends at uni and a lot of them are here!”
– Lauren Martin
Tara’s journey to working as a full-stack developer:
>> Bachelor of Computer Science, UNSW Sydney
>> Tutor, UNSW Sydney
>> Summer Scholar, NICTA
>> Graduate Developer, Atlassian
To find out how Jesse Arundell is using emerging technologies at CBA, click here.