Developer Perspective: An Interview with Hackathon Winner Turned Skyscanner for Business Software Engineer - Sherwyn Goh

Skyscanner for Business is lucky to have a team of talented engineers who work to create some of the technically complex and exciting products we offer our partners today.  

Meet Sherwyn: one of those brilliant engineers. Most people start coding as undergraduates at university, but Sherwyn's story of how his career as a developer at Skyscanner for Business transpired is a little different... 

We sat down with him to get the low-down on his path into the business and how he has taken much of his experience from running his own tech company and applied it to the work he does on our great suite of products

How did you get into Engineering? 

Well, it wasn’t the usual way that most people do as I didn’t study computer science at university. I actually went to the Australian National University in Canberra, where I studied for a Bachelor of Finance specialising in Corporate Finance and Investment Management. After a couple of months in the world of high finance I decided that it was not what I wanted to do. I initially started an online Bubble Tea shop delivering to university students and following that a Mexican restaurant franchise, in addition to training as a Personal Trainer!  

While running the restaurant I decided that I realised the world of coding and designing technical products really interested me and so I decided to learn more about coding and how to build websites. I sold the restaurant and spent 3 months locked up in a room for 16+hours a day teaching myself and taking online modules in coding.  

Initially, I applied for an internship at a software development agency in Singapore to gain some experience of working in the industry. The company then hired me within three months to work for them as a web developer. During that time I started competing in hackathons as a side project while I was working.  

Can you tell us a bit more about the other projects you created for hackathons?

I am really pleased to have participated and won a prize at four hackathons this year dealing with a wide variety of problems. I enjoy looking at day to day problems and finding a solution for them. Competing in hackathons gives you a great opportunity to use your abilities to work on many different projects. I have built apps for a public transport company which was aimed to help visually impaired people catch buses by alerting the driver to their presence at a bus stop, setting up a website for families to be able to coordinate funeral arrangements and share memories via a photobook, and a solar energy project.  

When did you decide to apply to Skyscanner? 

I was competing in a Travel Hackathon organised by Emirates when I first became aware of the Skyscanner team. I built a hack that allowed a user to search for multiple destinations with time agnostic flight search. For example, a user could ask “ In the next 6 months, I want to spend 7 days in Tokyo or Sydney. Show me the cheapest prices for each month”. You would then be able to view and compare prices with minimal effort and typing. 

I won the hack event and was spotted by Joe Sarre who works for Skyscanner for Business, who asked me if I would consider working for them. I was delighted to accept the offer and the rest, as they say, is history! 

What do you do at Skyscanner? 

I work within Skyscanner for Business - the B2B operation within Skyscanner. My main focus is on front end work, and making our products look and feel as beautiful as possible, with great UX.  

Our White Label, for example, has been built with a very visually-appealing interface, yet it is still completely customisable to fit the look and feel of the partner brand. 

Working on a product like that, that can touch so many users is very gratifying!