Hi, I’m Michael Oswald. I’m a Senior Software Engineer on the trading team, and this is a day in my life at Paxos.
I work remotely in Colorado, having recently just moved here from Texas. Because Paxos is a remote-first company, my family and I were able to move to a place that best suited our needs. We wanted to be close to the mountains and are big into exploring the outdoors, so Colorado checked all the boxes for us.
The picturesque mountain views of Colorado.
Today, my day starts at 7:00 a.m. I’m in Mountain Time Zone, but choose to work Eastern Time Zone hours to spend more time in the late afternoon and evening with my wife and kids. The first thing I do is get some focus time in. I have a scratch pad that I use for writing my goals for the day and any other notes, which helps me reflect and focus on the priorities for all my current projects.
At 8:45 a.m., I have a daily stand-up meeting with my team. Here, we give updates on our progress and discuss what we focus on for that day. It’s a great opportunity to get face time with the team and discuss any pressing issues or things we need help with.
My team manages the core exchange functionality to support crypto trading for our customers. If you’re familiar with the rise of digital assets in finance, you’ll know there’s never a dull moment. I love this aspect of working at Paxos, as it’s constantly evolving, and we’re always adapting our software to support these external changes in the industry.
Daily stand-up with the Trading team.
After the meeting, I continue work on my current project: upgrading our trading gateway layer for our trading platform. This ensures we can continue to accept and process crypto trades from our customers accurately and efficiently. With the high volume and sensitive nature of trading, this project has been full of many corner cases that need to be fully thought through and accounted for before it’s production-ready. Some of the challenges we’ve faced in this system include:
- How do we guarantee messaging ordering for our trading system?
- How do we enable zero-downtime deployments?
- Can we still process trades when other adjacent systems fail?
- How can we monitor and alert when failures occur and recover or rollback effectively during those times?
Many engineers at Paxos have deep knowledge of distributed systems and know how to run highly available and mission-critical systems at scale. I’m always collaborating with other engineers on the team to work through the many challenges we face in building resilient systems.
After some deep focus time, 10 a.m. rolls around and it’s time for some fun. Our team regularly carves out time to get together virtually to play virtual games and other ‘get to know you better’ activities. Today, we created and uploaded custom emojis to our team’s Slack channel. I find moments like this great for building collaborative skills that can translate to our work. We ended up creating some funny joke emojis, but there were also a few useful ones:
Left: Indicates a pull request is ready for review.
Middle: A request has come in related to our Order Services software.
Right: A pull request was approved, but has a few comments along with it.
Sharing some laughs with my teammates.
Afterwards, I have a block of time to focus on more coding. We’re rebuilding the world’s financial infrastructure and utilizing blockchain technologies and digital assets to enable this change, which is a big challenge I can see myself working to solve for many years to come.
Around noon, I have lunch and then return to work reviewing pull requests from other team members. Being the tech lead, I need to ensure that we have high-quality code going into our code base and flag anything that requires us to adjust our timelines. I ensure that we balance setting a high bar for software quality with an ability to deliver to our customers on time and above expectations.
It’s 1:30 p.m. now – time to pair program with a teammate to work through some aspects of the Trading Gateway project. We’ve recently started utilizing pair programming, which I’ve found very helpful, especially to solve more complex tasks. We don’t follow strict rules, but having another developer to bounce ideas off has been very productive and enjoyable for me.
At Paxos, we’re given the autonomy to solve problems in the best way possible and I love that. Even with more than a decade as an industry leader in building blockchain infrastructure, Paxos is still a growing company. There are many opportunities to take advantage of, contribute ideas and learn from the incredibly talented software engineers who are part of the team.
Late Afternoon / Evening
I end my day around 3:30 p.m. and jump in the car to pick up the kids from school. I value the time I get to spend with my family and pursue fulfilling activities outside of work. The rest of the day is mostly helping the kids with homework and enjoying some of the many outdoor activities my area provides.
Enjoying a run.
Some of the things we like doing are bike riding, hiking, paddleboarding, skiing and visiting parks in the area. Once the kids are in bed, I squeeze in some exercise with a short run on the trails nearby. My new routine has been great for me, and I’m very grateful to have the flexibility to spend my afternoons and evenings where and how I want.
Thanks for coming along on a day in my life at Paxos. I’m excited about our future and the impact we’ll make on the financial industry. Feel free to message me on LinkedIn if you have questions about Paxos or what it’s like to work here as an engineer. 👋
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