As a leading tech employer in the East we want to showcase some of the diverse roles and routes into tech. Today we meet Software Engineer, Lewis Markwell.
What is your role at Epos Now and what does that involve?
As part of my role as a Software Engineer, I help to spec, design, build and support Epos Now's core product. This involves speaking to the different stakeholders (Business Analysts, Product Owners, Support Agents, Senior Management) throughout the business to ensure what we are building is correct for the customer. I take part in both the User Experience and technical designs for all new features and build the feature or lead teams of developers during the development process. I provide aftercare for the releases to help diagnose and fix issues in production to ensure resolutions are found and released quickly.
What previous education/work experience helped hone your skills to get you where you are now?
I have a degree in Applied Computing which I do not give much credit to getting me in the position I am now (it only got me an interview). All of my knowledge and experience have been gained since starting at Epos Now as an intern 3 years ago. At that point, I had almost 0 experience in development - only the limited amount of work I had done at university.
My previous work experience was in a Kitchen pot washing (eventually working my way up the running the kitchen some evenings of the week). This taught me many of the soft skills you need to work in a collaborative environment - communication, teamwork, having a laugh!
Have you picked up any new skills in your role?
Working in such a collaborative environment, such as the software department at Epos Now, you quickly pick up skills and habits from the people you are surrounded with. Certainly while here, I can now look at different problems in different lights - having an eye for the customer will always cause some controversy, especially when it is a detriment to the code base, but inevitably get you a happier customer. I've definitely learnt how to think of the bigger picture, formulate my ideas in different ways (so they can be understood by technical and non-technical people), and building my own self-confidence to trust my own ideas and opinions.
What skill is most critical and why?
Being naturally analytical, inquisitive and a good problem solver will always give you a massive helping hand in a development environment. Being able to see through complicated problems to diagnose the core issue will always be beneficial especially when the pressure is on to fix a production issue. Having the intrigue to learn more, and experiment with different technologies, tools and languages will only ever present you with a plethora of different options to solve the same problem - the only difficult bit is choosing which of these is best, and having the pragmatism to concede the 'nastier' hack may well be the best solution.
Can you offer any advice to someone starting out?
My best piece of advice is to just go out and start playing. Really immerse yourself in the community, read blogs, write blogs, find a new technology or platform and master it. The internet is a great source of tutorials, problems and solutions and advice! Build yourself a portfolio of projects. Don't bite off more than you can chew - that 1 big issue is much easier to solve in 10 small portions. Don't be deflated when something gets the better of you, there is always another way to solve it - and don't be scared to hack it!
If you would like more information on the #MySkillsStory movement, check out City and Guilds. If you'd like to see if your skills are a good fit for the roles we have, check out the Epos Now career pages.