Meet Elate: Sean Gibbens
December 1, 2020

Meet Elate: Sean Gibbens

Sean is a Senior Software Engineer at Elate. We chatted with Sean about his role and how he found his way to Elate.

How did you end up in your role at Elate?
I worked with Elate’s VP of Engineering, Rob Wagner, at a previous job. We worked on many large projects together and found our engineering styles were differing but complementary. When he asked me to join the team at Elate, I had a lot of confidence that we could build a successful product.

What’s your favorite thing about your role?
The impact I can have. Being engineer #2 of a team means you get input on many decisions I would not have been privy to in past roles: what technologies you use, how to build the infrastructure, and what kind of people you think would make great future team members.

What makes being an Indianapolis tech company unique?
I think the thing that makes Indianapolis tech unique is the community. The small market really makes it feel like you have a connection at each and every company in the city, probably because you do.

What does your average workweek look like?
Not every week is the same, but a lot of the same tasks apply. Planning future product iterations with our P&E team. Working with our designer to build functional and visually appealing interfaces. But most of the time, coding.

If you weren’t in this role, what would you be doing?
I don’t think I necessarily have the skills for some of these, but after software engineer the next 3 occupations I would love to have are:

1. Astrophysicist

2. Park conservationist

3. Nutritionist

What’s your favorite thing about working at Elate?
My favorite thing about working at Elate is the team. We don’t always achieve consensus when talking through problems. Challenging each other is healthy, and it ultimately is in service to building a great product for our customers.

What’s your favorite thing about working in Engineering?
The thing that initially drew me towards engineering was solving problems and getting instant feedback. When success and failure is so immediately obvious it makes your job a lot easier. Solve enough tiny problems and the next thing you know, you’ve built an app.

What’s your go-to office/home snack?
Does another cup of coffee count as a snack? If not, I’d say greek yogurt with some fresh raspberries and granola.

What's something your co-workers don't know about you?
I think most of my co-workers know this now, but I am an above average juggler. It is my go to “fun fact” or talent show item, and I try to keep it a hidden secret for as long as possible.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start a career in Engineering?
Just start building. There is a bit of a stigma in the engineering industry that you need a college degree to code. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of the best engineers I know didn’t have a formal education in computer science or software engineering. Find a project or a problem that you’re passionate about, start coding a solution, and share it with others.

What do you like to do outside of work?
If I am not sitting at my computer, I am most likely playing with or walking my dog Blanca. She’s an explorer, so we try to spend as much time outside as possible.

Before the pandemic I loved going to concerts. Indianapolis has some fantastic music venues and I’m looking forward to the day when they fully open again.

Who has inspired you to get to this point in your career?
I don’t think I can have 1 answer to this question. There are numerous people who have inspired me at each stop in my career. I try to pull nuggets of knowledge and wisdom from each of the great managers and colleagues I’ve had, and incorporate them into my work.


At Elate, our coworkers are one of the top reasons we love what we do. The Meet Elate series spotlights real Elate employees across the company. Stay tuned for more from the series!