Catapult is an Australian company that has evolved from a start-up to a global leader in sports technology with solutions to build and improve the performance of athletes at all levels of sport. The company was recently named number 5 in the sports category for Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies 2020.”
To get an insight into life as a software engineer at Catapult we interviewed Elaine Pei Ling Chong, a junior software engineer with Catapult Sports.
Here Elaine explains talks about Catapult’s unique culture, the innovative technologies she works with daily and trends within the sports technology industry.
What is your career background? How did you start working for Catapult?
I studied Computer Science in college which helped me to develop a strong set of programming skills. I also completed a semester of work experience, which not only further developed these skills but also gave me experience in a professional environment.
Throughout my time at Brandt Technologies, I gained skills I’d never even heard of before. I was an intern software developer which involved designing, documenting and implementing the component while using computer programming languages to ensure the component is developed and maintained to a high level.
I was also the president of our school’s Association for Computing Machinery, which required me to coordinate and run over a dozen volunteers events each year. I also tutored students at Dundalk Grammar School. This involved coaching the students and giving them the tools to build mobile apps.
All of this experience helped me to realise that I wanted to work on innovative technologies in my career.
What initially attracted you to Catapult?
What attracted me most to Catapult was its reputation in the industry. A friend of mine was already working in the company and she raved about the culture, which is a really important factor for me when choosing a role.
Being an international company, I was drawn to Catapult knowing it would consist of a wide range of cultures, personalities and beliefs. Other than that, I’ve always loved being part of a team, so I was excited to work with the team here and try to make an impact.
What’s the culture like in the Dundalk operation?
I’ve learned a great amount during my time at Catapult and a huge part of that is being surrounded by intelligent and helpful people. I can describe the company’s culture in a few words; transparent, flexible, motivating, trusting, fun and nurturing.
Catapult allows you to work remotely to save time and money on commuting. Working in an environment that I’m comfortable in pushes me to achieve business and performance goals.
Fitness and Sports Technology is constantly evolving and there are lots of players in the wearable tech market at the moment – how does Catapult ensure it stays on top of its game?
Catapult’s technology is a combination of hardware, firmware and software. Although the company’s hardware includes GPS antennas and many inertial sensors for measuring various types of sports, they also customize services for different customers by adjusting firmware and software layers. The company has the courage to change the status quo, carry out applied research, and apply new technology to top sports.
What are some of the innovative technologies you get to work on? What does your day to day look like?
My team is working on building and implementing services for the whole company to use as a foundation layer to plug into their products and build their own from.
I usually start at 9:00 am, collaboratively plan my day and make sure that the most urgent work gets done first. I keep in touch with my teammates, update them on my progress to make sure I am on the right track and help them with any issues.
What are some of the latest trends in sports technology that you anticipate for 2020?
Wearable technology and smartphone apps will continue to grow in popularity. Wearable technology provides us with the ability to monitor our fitness levels and perform better. Best of all, most of the devices are hands-free and portable,. As phone technology including GPS location tracking and motion-sensing continues to sharpen and improve, these tools will become even more accurate and useful.
Do you feel Catapult is making an impact on the sports industry? How?
Absolutely. Catapult provides different products for different user groups to enhance every athlete’s experience. The PLAYR product is available to the consumer market which is something that elevates Catapult’s appeal.
Catapult is committed to helping athletes minimize their chances of injury and ensuring they perform optimally physically, technically and tactically. They build and improve individual and team performance by tracking the players’ movement and measuring their physical performance during training and games.
The athlete’s data can then be viewed in real-time or after the game. This level of analysis gives athletes such a better understanding of how to improve their performance which is invaluable.
Would we be familiar with any teams that use Catapult technologies?
There are many teams and athletes that use Catapult technologies. Mo Salah who plays for Liverpool has used our products playing with his National team in Egypt and in the 2018 world cup. Many GAA and AFL (Aussie Rules) teams also use Catapult technologies.
One of Catapult’s values is to be ambitious. How does Catapult ensure its people are given the opportunity to reach their goals and grow within the organisation?
Catapult gives its people the opportunity to work across different teams and products. This allows us to learn from one another and gain fresh perspectives that we can bring back to our own team. Right now, my squad and I work closely with the team in Boston. Catapult also has a very empowering culture that allows its employees to have autonomy in their role to improve our products.
Elaine is a Junior Software Engineer at Catapult Sports in Dundalk, where they are currently growing their team.