Across the pond
My afternoons usually start with a quick five-minute catch up with the project manager in New York. I also have a 15 to 20-minute scrum call later on in the afternoon where the full development and test teams in the UK, New York and California, get together to discuss the day’s priorities, achievements and any other project-wide issues.
The rest of the day is spent working for the current Sprint, and talking to our technology partners to make sure we’re on the same page with regard to what we need from each other for our respective tasks, as well as catching up on emails.
Collaboration is key
We’re very lucky at Scott Logic as we have a lot of very smart people to learn from, who work on a wide range of technologies. Don’t be afraid to question things. The worst that can happen is you’re wrong, which isn’t a bad thing as it presents you with an opportunity to learn things. This is good!
Google is also a great tool for developers because if you encounter a problem, there’s a good chance someone else has encountered it before and the solution can be found on the internet somewhere. Even if there isn’t a solution there will likely be more information to help you move in the right direction.
A key thing to remember when finding solutions on the internet is to not just use the first answer on Stack Overflow, but to read the solution and try to understand it; read the comments on proposed solutions too as they’re often just as useful. If you just take the solution as read, you could end up encountering the same problem again in the future and have to go through the process of finding the solution all over again.
I just knew
I enjoyed programming as soon as I wrote my first Hello World program in Visual Basic in secondary school computing. I pretty much made up my mind there that this is what I wanted to do, and started to focus my studies on giving me a good skillset to pursue a career in software development. These days, Visual Studio and ReSharper combined make my life so much easier, and ReSharper helps keep me on my toes with regards to my coding style.
Work hard, play hard
What is awesome about my current project is the freedom I have to experiment with, and suggest, different methods of visualising data. Sometimes we are asked to present data in a certain way but there are occasions where that format just doesn’t feel quite right. The project manager trusts our suggestions and allows us time to experiment with different visualisations and will take them to the users and sell our ideas to them.
So far we have had great success doing this and have introduced a parallel coordinates chart to the application and also switched from a 3D surface chart to a heat map. In both cases the end users loved what we did and were grateful for the suggestions, as it allowed them to interpret the data much more efficiently than they could before.
There is always a lot going on at Scott Logic, whether it’s going to a pub quiz, out for a company lunch, playing badminton, squash, five-a-side football or the Xbox. I really enjoy the social side of the company. It allows you to interact with a wide variety of people instead of just the people you immediately work with.
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