Engineering At RingMD: What's It Like? Hear From A Software Engineer Making A Real-World Impact

Nov 21, 2017
6 min read

Meet Long Nguyen! Long is a full stack developer from Kon Tum, Vietnam. He's been working for RingMD in Singapore for the last 2 years. In this interview, he talks about what it feels like to work in the rapidly growing world of telemedicine and digital health. And, since we're always on the lookout for talented and thoughtful engineers, he also shares what he looks for in a teammate.

software enginner making a real-world impact with ruby on rails Zach: What are you working on right now?

Long: I'm working on improving RingMD's instant call, trying to make sure our Singapore users have a doctor to answer their call as fast as possible. It’s really challenging because there are so many variables to consider, especially those surrounding human behavior: in particular the trust that must be established for a patient to feel comfortable sharing often intimate health information. We don’t always get it right away. In fact, I would say we never do.

I think that’s a good thing… Obviously, you want to do as good a job as possible, but it’s important to recognize that when you are dealing with complex issues there exists details that don’t always present themselves right away, or, frankly, things that you miss. With this in mind, we focus on always improving. If you can just focus on being better each time instead of trying to get everything perfect, I feel that enables greater success in the long run since you’re not paralyzed worrying about perfection.

Z: How did you find out about RingMD? Why did you want to join the team?

L: It's kind of a long story, so here’s the gist of it. In 2013 I was taking a break from a failed online learning startup I co-founded with my friend. So obviously I had some free time on my hands to help another friend of mine, Chris, with the tech side of his projects - namely, the Start center for entrepreneurship and Saigon hub (another co-working space/entrepreneurship hub). Chris was really pleased with the work that I did, and at that time, his friend, Justin - RingMD's founder and CEO– was in Saigon looking for developers. Chris suggested that the two of us meet. I was really impressed with Justin despite him being only 21-years-old. More importantly, I was convinced of the importance of the healthcare problems he was trying to solve. I joined together with two college classmates that I brought along, as Justin asked me to build a team I could count on.

Z: How has your experience been? What have been the most challenging and enjoyable aspects?

L: It has been a wonderful journey so far. I’ve truly enjoyed what I'm doing and the people I work with. It's amazing to have a team that feels like family members.

We know each other really well and share many things outside of work too. I think that’s very important. This makes us not only want to work hard for the vision, but also for each other.

Aside from some general technical challenges– such as moving our servers between vendors and nailing zero downtime deployment– which I love to solve, the aspect of the job I find the most challenging is seeing so many things that could be done better but not having enough time to take care of them. For example, I would love to take the time to implement a purely test driven approach for everything we do and engage in comprehensive internal monitoring of things like our servers. We often don’t have time for luxuries like those. That’s just the nature of a fast-growing startup. Nonetheless, I’ve also learned a lot from dealing with the growth process that the company has had to navigate through. doctor appointment online Z: What do you look for in a teammate?

L: Obviously, we want someone that solves problems; from a ruby on rails developer to a sales person everybody must be problem solvers. That’s the job in a nutshell: figuring out how to realize a vision. Yet, every company wants people like this. I look for more! In addition to having a very strong technical background, we are looking for team players– people I can rely on to have my back and challenge me to be better. At the end of the day, we’re looking to make the company as great as it can be in order to make the world a healthier and happier place. A software engineer making a real-world impact, how often have you read about it?

To do this we not only need to have talented people that get stuff done, but also terrific chemistry between those people. If you can’t work together, you’re not going to be able to make a worthwhile contribution to society.

Lastly, I like being around people that like to joke around and not take things too seriously (while still getting stuff done and making time for a game of ping-pong).

Z: What are you most excited about?

L: I'm most excited when I can see that my work is helping a lot of people. Thankfully that happens every day. It’s such a gift to be able to write code that can help millions of people live healthier lives. To observe this happening and receive feedback from patients and doctors about how my work has helped them is incredibly rewarding.

Z: What keeps you up at night?

L: When I still see something I can improve on the product, in the nights leading up to a scheduled release. I know I said that it doesn’t have to be perfect, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to make each release as good as possible! Otherwise, obviously, bugs and problems that I haven't found answers to yet also bother me. If you’re an engineer, you definitely know that feeling…

Z: Why is this company important to you?

L: I don't think there are many jobs that can bring you to work with such great purpose, and give you the chance to positively impact in the world. We are solving a real-world problem and making healthcare more affordable and accessible for people. This is my first job out of school, and I couldn’t imagine going to work anywhere else.

Speak with a doctor online. Why leave home to find a doctor if you don't have to? Can you have a doctor appointment online? Yes, consult a doctor online, right now! When appropriate, the doctor is able to provide you with a signed Medical Certificate (MC) if they believe you need one for work or school reasons.  

We're also focusing on increasing access to mental health care. If you're thinking "I need a therapist near me" but don't know where to start, try the RingMD therapist directory. We will help you find the right therapist for YOU!

If you're a doctor or wellness expert considering offering virtual care services, here are some arguments to consider.