Supported, Heard, and Able to Grow: A Conversation with Izzy Elwyn

Like every team at ScriptDrop, our engineering team is small but mighty – and growing! As a tech company, it’s important that we spotlight this team of tech superstars. Without them, there wouldn’t be a ScriptDrop solution. Tech is central to what we do.

Today we’re sharing a conversation with Izzy Elwyn, our Production Support team lead (more about that team in a moment). In June 2019, she explained how she became an engineer in “The Winding Road to Tech.” Let’s see what she’s been up to since then.

ScriptDrop: Hi Izzy! First things first: what do you like about the engineering team at ScriptDrop?

Izzy Elwyn: One of the biggest things: I get to work on a product that helps people. There was a period of time in my 20s when I was so sick I could barely get out of bed most days. I was lucky in that I had a support system of friends and family who could go pick up my medications for me, but sometimes I had to wait until one of them could help, meaning I'd have to go without relief or therapy for days. It was excruciating. A service like the one possible with our application would have made all the difference.

ScriptDrop: How do you feel about coding in Elixir, the backend language for our applications?

Izzy Elwyn: I absolutely love Elixir. It's syntactically beautiful. Beneath that syntax is Erlang, a powerful functional programming language that is great for concurrency. I knew from the moment I first used it that Elixir was the language for me. It's magical (and I get the bonus of being called an Alchemist for using it).

ScriptDrop: But unlike the alchemists of old toiling away in secret, you’re known for being a highly collaborative team member. In fact, you’re the lead of the Production Support team. Tell me about that.

Izzy Elwyn: Even with the most careful peer code review, bugs will happen as systems grow in scope and complexity. We needed a way to clean up bugs effectively. We also needed to hone our error reporting so errors were meaningful and actionable, not constant noise.

During the early months of the pandemic, our team was organized into small pools of developers to help us scale quickly. Based on that model, I suggested creating a dedicated triage/bug team – now called Production Support – with a static lead, a rotating secondary lead, and one or two engineers from our developer cohorts.

The static lead not only helps the secondary lead and engineers in trouble-shooting, but also works on improving overall feature testing and rollout procedures. It’s all part of the effort to cut down on production incidents. The secondary lead acts as backup for the static lead. For those interested in technical leadership, it’s a great opportunity! Meanwhile, the rotating engineers get a new perspective on our system and contribute context from the recent projects on which they’ve been working.

ScriptDrop: Who else works on the Production Support team right now?

Izzy Elwyn: As of today, my secondary lead is Jessica Wright, a fellow graduate of WeCanCodeIT. She has grown so much as a developer and a leader since she joined ScriptDrop and I am psyched to have her on the Production Support team for three months. The rotating engineers change every two weeks, but we've gotten to include everyone from the dev team by now. It's been exciting to provide folks with an opportunity to explore new areas of the codebase and give them an opportunity to work closely with our Customer Success team to triage technical issues on the fly.

ScriptDrop: When it comes to leadership and group organizing, the Production Support team wasn’t your first rodeo. You’re also a founder of Tech EI – tell me about that.

Izzy Elwyn: Tech EI was founded in 2019 to provide a space to have conversations about emotional intelligence topics with members of the technical community (though absolutely anyone is welcome!). When we were doing in-person meetings, we'd generally have one or two speakers kicking off conversations about topics such as imposter syndrome, anxiety, or vulnerability, and then break out into smaller discussion groups to share experiences or talk through questions provided by the speaker. We'd then all come back together and share any 'a-ha!' moments we'd had.

ScriptDrop: How has the pandemic impacted the group?

Izzy Elwyn: We’ve moved to Zoom, and for that reason we've definitely gone down in attendance. I imagine many people are tired of being on video chat meetings all day for work or school and don't have the energy for a 1-2 hour post-work call. We’re also not meeting every month. That’s a direct result of the pandemic; the drain for me has been intense. But we're trying out more relaxed and unstructured 'Tea and Chat' style meetings to give folks that space to talk.

ScriptDrop: What would you say to someone considering a position with ScriptDrop’s engineering team?

Izzy Elwyn: We're all passionate about what we do, but we're also excited to share our knowledge with each other and learn new things. You’ll feel supported and heard. I've had jobs in the past where I felt unheard; I'd suggest changes to policies or procedures and I'd be met with condescension or hostility. I've never felt that way here. If there is a disagreement, the conversations are open and vulnerable and I feel like everyone comes out of those conversations having grown.

There is a lot of room to explore and grow!

Big thanks to Izzy for sharing her time and thoughts with us! Interested in joining our team and doing good for patients all over the country? Check out our team page to see our open positions.