What was your career journey like? Which software development roles featured along your career path?
I have spent a lot at of my career at smaller companies, where the roles have not been so strictly defined and I have often found myself combining software development with other responsibilities such as customer relations and business development.
Over time, there has been a tendency to spend less time on coding and more time on planning and designing software at work. When that happens, I make sure to do some smaller coding projects in my spare time. Both because I find it entertaining and I also think it is always good to get first-hand experience with new tools and technologies.
How important is it in software development to know multiple coding languages?
Even if you only use one or a few languages extensively in your day to day work, I think it is very useful to explore other languages. There may be concepts and structures that, while not being first class citizens of your day to day languages, may still be valuable in reasoning about some of the problems you need to solve at a higher level.
In your experience, which processes work best?
Agile software development is my preferred process for most projects, with the possible exception of more Greenfield research type projects. Even in those, there are elements and ways of thinking around things like MVPs that can be useful.
How did you learn to code?
I taught myself to code on a Commodore 64 when I was 10. Started out with Basic, but quickly turned to 6502 assembly after realising how much more power I could get out of that machine by doing so.
I think one of the major driving forces behind my early interest in computers was actually to try to do things that at first seemed impossible, particularly given the well-defined constraints of the hardware. It was a feeling of creating magic.
How have you seen software development as an industry grow alongside your career?
Early on, most people around me were self-taught with their own ideas on how to do things. With the ability to spread ideas and code through the Internet, software development has become more driven by best practices and well understood patterns and algorithms. With all the efforts being made in the VR/AR space currently relating to development tools, I believe we are in for an interesting ride over the coming few years.
What attracted you to a career in software development?
Curiosity and the ability to go from imagination to creation without anything but myself getting in the way.
What’s the best advice you could offer someone looking to climb the ranks of software development and achieve your role?
Personally, I find it hard to engage fully in areas I am not interested in. Passion is the mother of all things great.
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