This month we continued our Made Tech team interview series with our Software Engineer Kyle Jones to better understand his role and to feature the great work he has been doing.
Our Software Engineers actively contribute to the planning of work and development of features, helping to define the features and approach to delivering them.
If you would like to watch the full interview, it is available here.
Q: How did you become interested in tech?
A: I first became interested in technology through computer games. My dad bought a couple of consoles back in the 90s when I was younger. We kept going back and forth – I was trying to get one level further before running out of lives and then restarting. After that, he came home with a desktop pc which they allowed me to use as long as I accessed websites that they’d pre-approved.
One of the ones I fell into was one that you got to design your own home page using HTML and CSS, so that was where it started. From that point I really came to love it and that’s what I wanted to do from then on.
Q: Outside of tech, what other hobbies do you have?
A: I really love reading. I’m mostly into science fiction but I’ll read anything. I’ve read everything from Hemingway to Stephen Hawking and at the moment I’m reading Jurassic Park. I’ve also recently finished How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates, which was really interesting.
Q: Had you ever worked in the public sector before joining Made Tech?
A: No, I’ve never worked in the public sector. For each job I’ve gone from industry to industry, so the last job I had was building a SaaS product that we were actively marketing and selling to large organisations and the public sector. There was a little bit of an overlap there but that was the only real work I’d done with the public sector before joining Made Tech.
Q: How do you find working in the public sector?
A: It’s got its own unique appeal and challenges. The difference I find is that there’s a lot more red tape to it with a bit of back and forth about requirements. But there’s also the whole idea of working on a product that is potentially going to be used by millions of people which is really interesting to do.
My last position was at a startup where the user uptake was quite low at the time when I was leaving. But when working in the public sector, we know from day one that it’s going to be in the hands of a couple thousand users so it’s a whole different ball game.
Q: How long have you been at Made Tech?
A: I started in November of 2020.
Q: How did you find out about the company?
A: I’d been looking to leave my previous employer because I’d been there since it was a startup with everyone sitting around one desk. At the time I ended up leaving I think it was over 50 employees so it’d gone from proof of concept all the way to a fully functioning product that was actively being sold so I knew the system like the back of my hand at that point.
I was looking for a new challenge and I heard about Made Tech online through things like LinkedIn. I thought both the change in industry and tech stack would be really good for my personal growth.
Q: What was the interview process like?
A: For me the interview process was really smooth and the groups I spoke with were really professional. I attended three or four sessions altogether and all of them were really pleasant. Everyone who interviewed me treated me as though I was a person rather than just an applicant and not just another potential resource.
What I’ve found in the past is that you can go into an interview with a small feeling, almost like they’re looking for a second hand car and deciding whether or not they should buy it, rather than seeing whether that person fits.
Q: What does your role here involve?
A: Day-to-day my role is generally to solve technical problems and streamline processes. This includes building features for organisations in the public sector and daily use of test driven development to make sure that the build quality is up to scratch and that everything performs to the business requirements that we’ve been set.
Other than that, I also write blog posts and I’ve been getting involved in sustainability. At Made Tech there’s a lot of encouragement to get involved in other sides of the business as well.
Q: What do you like most about being a Software Engineer?
A: The two main elements of the job that I enjoy the most are problem solving and having to constantly learn new things. I find that because of the speed the landscape changes in the technology industry, you constantly need to keep up to date with new things that are coming out. Each new thing has its own advantages and disadvantages and a lot of them make solving different problems that you come up against a lot easier and even solve problems that you couldn’t solve before.
Q: What are some of the most challenging things about this role?
A: It’s the communication side of things. I really struggle with public speaking so it’s that side of things for me. I know a lot of people struggle with public speaking and I think it’s one of those things that comes up quite a lot in the industry.
The other thing I find quite a challenge is taking the requirements we’re given and trying to understand the underlying problem rather than just blindly following what’s being asked. I’ve fallen into so many traps in the past with other positions where we’ve been told to follow the requirement to the letter and you end up halfway down the road and then find out it doesn’t actually solve the underlying problem, because it’s just somebody’s interpretation of it.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about the project you’ve been working on?
A: I’m currently working as part of the team with the DVLA and modernising their systems. We’re pretty early in the project at the moment but there’s been a lot of positive change putting into practices and functionality. Everybody’s been really welcoming and helpful on the project so far. Just a pleasure to work with to be honest.
Q: Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to be a Software Engineer?
A: The main advice I would give is just to get a solid understanding of all the basics of a language because it gives you a good grounding point to look back on. On top of that, a lot of the core concepts are the same from language to language so from there you can learn new languages because they’re easier to pick up. You can also look at new technologies or tools to pick up to complement the language you know.
Q: What do you like most about working at Made Tech?
A: It’s being able to work on projects that benefit society and being valued as a person rather than a resource. I also like that the learning culture here is very much front and center. Made Tech provided a lot of funding and learning time for me to go and improve my own skills. Since I started in November, I’ve gone on to do three certifications, a bunch of blog posts, and I’m still looking for new opportunities to grow. I’m constantly being backed by both my manager and the company as a whole.
Q: Do you have any books or resources you would recommend for someone interested in this position?
A: If I had to pick one book I’d probably say the DevOps Handbook. It was written as a companion piece originally for a book called The Phoenix Project and talks about a bunch of practices that I find really useful for development teams but also comes in line with a lot of the practices we follow at Made Tech.
In terms of other resources, I listen to quite a lot of tech podcasts. I really enjoy listening to Changelog, Coding Blocks and I quite enjoy listening to the DarkNet Diaries which is more of a security podcast.
If you have any more questions for Kyle about his role here, you can get in touch by reaching out on Linkedin. Additionally, if you are interested in joining our team, you can view our current open positions here.
Be sure to stay tuned for our next Made Tech Team Interview coming next month.