Staff Spotlight – Xinyi Li


As so many Polymathian software programmers do, Xinyi started his career as a casual developer while attending University. While studying mathematics and IT at the University of Queensland, Xinyi envisioned a career as a data scientist; however, he found a home for himself on the Polymathian Tropofy team. The Tropofy team consists of programmers who support the purpose-built tech platform that Polymathian uses to build and deploy our industrial mathematics software.

Let's get to know Xinyi Li

  • What does your workday look like, Xinyi?
  • I spend 50-60% of my day writing code. The purpose of the code I write is to add new capabilities and enhance existing features of the Tropofy Platform. When I'm not writing code, I meet with the product teams to better understand how to support them. There was also a time when I was the designated bikkie runner.

Bikkie runner is a very important task. On Friday afternoons, Polymathian provides bikkies and lollies to get us through the final hours of the workweek.

  • How does the Tropofy team work together with the product teams?
  • The product teams are Tropofy's customers. They look to us to develop features that will help them meet customer specifications and enable them to do their jobs more efficiently. As an example, the RACE team recently needed a specific feature developed, but before I began writing the code, I met with the other product teams to see how the feature could be designed so it could be utilised across our entire product portfolio. By meeting with each team, I was able to write the new feature so it could be used universally, which resulted in more bang for the buck!

  • How has your career grown since starting at Polymathian?
  • When I first started, I spent 90-100% of my time writing code. Now, three years later, I spend about 60% of my time coding and the rest liaising with the product team to ensure we are meeting the brief for feature development.

  • What advice would you give a young person just starting their career?
  • Networking is critical. In fact, I got my job at Polymathian through networking.

  • Has mentorship been important in your career?
  • Yes, the entire Tropofy team is built around sharing information, both through causal daily communication and formal information sharing like our Tropo-Fridays, where our CTO or another team member shares lessons learned or new coding tips and techniques. The entire team is keen to support each other and share information.

  • What types of software problems do you enjoy solving?
  • I love solving large architecture problems. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to work out how all the puzzle pieces work together to become a valuable tool for our customers. It's great to see something you've built come to life.

  • If you won the lottery, would you come into work the next day?
  • Yes, definitely. We have an excellent culture here, so I see no reason to quit working.

  • Not even $25 million reasons????
  • Okay, I might retire a little early, but I'd still come to work because my job gives me a lot of personal satisfaction. Even when I'm not at work, I'm coding.

  • What was the last gift you gave someone?
  • I bought a milk frother for my parents. It's convenient to have, much better than the microwave.

  • Headphones or no headphones?
  • Headphones

  • What do you listen to?
  • I listen to a playlist that my mates and I contribute to, so it's totally random. One minute it's hardcore rap, and then the next is classical music. I enjoy listening to it because I'm always discovering new music.

  • What was the last app you downloaded?
  • The medicare app so that I could show my vaccination certificate. I got kicked out of a sushi restaurant because I didn't have it on my phone. After downloading the app, I went back the next day to show it to the hostess, and we got to chatting, and it turned out she was my neighbour.😊

Wouldn't that be a sweet meet-cute origin story?

  • If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Sweet and sour chicken. The perfect balance of flavour in every bite!

  • What is something surprising about yourself?
  • I don't know if you'll find this surprising, but when I noticed it, I was certainly surprised. I recently discovered that all the shirts in my closet have horizontal stripes. Every. Single. Shirt.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Xinyi, as much as I did. If you would like to discuss coding protocol or get some fashion advice, you can connect with Xinyi on LinkedIn.

About the interviewer

Tami Pizani is the newest member of the Polymathian marketing team and has made it her mission to shine a spotlight on the employees behind Polymathian's success. Tami loves a great underdog story, discovering commonalities when meeting someone new, and a healthy debate over the use of the Oxford comma. You can connect with Tami on LinkedIn.


Subscribe to our newsletter