A day in the life: Associate Software Developer in Manchester
17 August 2021 • 4 min read
Recently, we spoke to software engineer Norbert Nagy about life at AND. We're continuing our series looking at some of the people that make AND Digital special with a Q&A with Associate Software Developer Ryan Gilbert from our Manchester Club, Kilburn.
- Name: Ryan Gilbert
- How long have you been at AND: Just over 6 months
- AND title: Tech Enthusiast
Who are you at AND Digital?
Hi Ryan! Tell us a bit about yourself and what do you do at AND?
I’m Ryan, a tech enthusiast. I enjoy all things techy, from a raspberry pi to virtual reality and almost everything between. I'm originally from Scotland, but I'm now working with Club Kilburn in Manchester.
Currently I’m an Associate, which means my career path isn’t set in stone yet. At the moment I'm more focused on a backend Product Developer role, working with modern frameworks and technologies like Spring Boot, Node and others.
Could you describe your work? How do you describe it to your family?
When you first start it’s a bit difficult to explain to your parents what exactly it is you do, especially if you join as an Associate because the reality is that you yourself don’t exactly know or even need to know what you do at that time, there are multiple paths and roads you can take.
When my parents first asked my response was I’m not sure yet, before explaining to them the individual roles of a Product Developer and a Product Analyst and how that works in a consultancy-style field. What we do at AND is attempt to expand the digital capabilities of the clients we work with and there's not just one avenue to do that.
Working with clients
What sort of clients do you work with? What kinds of work have you done for them?
As a fairly new associate, I’ve only done work for one client so far but it has surprised me; Sky, it shows that clients can range from small 50 people companies up to major fortune 500 companies. So far most of my work has been backend work, helping to wire up their latest innovation.
What are the biggest challenges working with clients?
Settling in is usually the biggest challenge. Finding your feet can be difficult, especially as an associate, but if you have a stable and supportive team you quickly feel the anxiety ease off and get to work.
Once you’re settled in, it's important to acknowledge that the clients you may be working with are not always as mature in terms of agile methodologies as AND; you’re not only there to help them build a project but you’re also helping them bridge the gap between the different ways of working.
These differences can cause conflict at times and should be approached carefully. However, this is all part of the process - clients are always receptive to positive changes your team is trying to implement.
Career development and learning new skills at AND
What makes a project really rewarding and interesting?
Learning something new, 100%. If you’re not learning something new on a project then you’re at risk of becoming complacent. Upskilling and understanding new technologies as you progress is vital to feel like the work done is rewarding and interesting. At the same time working with a different team on a new project can be very rewarding, you absorb a lot from those around you and if you keep that circle of people changing then you can gain insights into a lot of things you may never otherwise know.
What’s it like working at AND? What do you like best about working at the company?
Working at AND is wonderful. The positive energy and all-round good vibe of the company makes it a pleasure to work for. Even as a junior you feel like your opinion matters, that your insights and opinions are respected and never go unheard.
What have you learned while at AND? What new skills have you developed?
Since I started at AND I’ve learned and upskilled in many different areas. My backend knowledge has certainly grown with Spring Boot and Node becoming part of my core skill set. I like to make sure I keep things fresh and up-to-date though so I’m always on the lookout for something new I can learn during upskilling days or my free time.
I’ve also learned a lot about myself and the way I think, how I can effectively contribute to team discussions and the sprint ceremonies. My confidence has increased a large amount in not only the new skills I’ve started to pick up but also in my existing skills.
Thanks for chatting Ryan! If you'd like to take the next step in your career at AND Digital, start by exploring all our open roles.