The Curious Capacity of the Software Engineer

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

Having joined the WebApps team last week and still being somewhat limited in my knowledge of the ICT-related posts held here, I thought that blogging about the various roles at WebApps would be a good way of introducing other non-technical folk to the roles as I learn about them myself.

Having completed the first year of an Accounting & Computing BSc (but upon noticing the oncoming iceberg that would have been my third-year final grade, I abandoned ship), my fellow laypeople can rest assured that this computing lark ain’t easy. It draws from countless other subjects, such as the logic of physics and mathematics, the creativity and flair of art and largely the capacity of languages (Java, C#, SQL and ASP to name but a few – you can’t move for all the languages under this roof). And languages are merely the tip of the iceberg: these have to be used to program, encode and solve on demand.

My first blog of this variety features the position of Software Engineer. They’re the idea guys, the ones who create and innovate – Idea Drivers, if you will. Clients who want to request adjustments or updates to their systems, or move onto a new system entirely, get in touch with their Project Manager. The PM then engages with the developers in their team and based on skillset, previous experience etc.,assigns tasks accordingly.

The role essentially is the application of a good technical knowledge to specific tasks and employing communication, team-work and personal development whilst maintaining a high standard of work. The developers I have spoken to in preparation for this piece all found it tricky to describe a typical day, because each client has their own system that has been tailored to their personal requirements (if variety is the spice of life, these guys could fuel the curry mile). General consensus amongst the unwitting developers that I managed to corner is that university cannot ever fully prepare a developer for the real-life tasks that they face. While one developer referred to the role as being “functional” in terms of the functionality they provide to applications, another described the variety and fast paced nature of the role by calling it a “multi-tasking” job.

“Stimulating” was another word thrown into the pot and, after noting the distinct lack of sarcasm, it led me to establish that this is what makes the job a remarkable one. It seems that for many developers, programming is something they do for fun. They thoroughly enjoy the intricacies of modern software, one developer even quipped “it doesn’t feel like work”. As McDonalds’ managers loathe burgers and postmen despise dogs, an occupation that one would readily pursue in their spare time is a rather refreshing find.

Ticking away quietly in the upstairs office of the company, the Software Engineers form the link between the Project Manager’s specifications and the end product in use by the client – how would the company progress without them simply “getting things done”?