Hello, Kris! Thank you for chatting with us. Would you be able to tell us a little about your latest project?
Right now, I’m working on a device to assist people, but I can’t give you any more details as we’re under NDA.
What sort of role do you have here at Bluefruit?
As a Software Engineer, I take on cards that represent work for the client. I participate in planning meetings, estimation sessions and retrospectives. I join programming mobs and occasionally pair with others. During downtime, I work on personal training projects to try to get a broader range of experience.
One of those recent projects has involved me working on creating an Android application in Java using Android Studio. It converted the real-world date and time to its equivalent from The Elder Scrolls series of videogames. I did this intending to eventually convert it into an Android widget that can be displayed on the home screen. I tried to do this years ago, but now with the extra experience I have gained working at Bluefruit, progress is going much better.
What skills do you need to do your job?
I try to be rational and methodical in my thinking. And be willing to give things a try, even if I sometimes doubt my ability to achieve a task, as the experience itself is invaluable.
It can be daunting to pick up a card in a sprint and not know too much about what it entails. But even if I end up needing to ask for help, the investigative work itself is a good learning experience. And if a pairing session or a mob is formed to work on the problem, I get to see how others go about investigating a problem, which is helpful too.
How did you learn how to do what you do?
I went to the University of Plymouth and completed a course in Computing & Games Development. There I learned the basics of programming in a few different languages, as well as project management and productivity tools. Although nothing compares to the skills you gain from a real work environment.
Overall, the biggest skill I have learned since joining Bluefruit has been the Lean-Agile methodology and the associated tools and workflows surrounding it. Lean-Agile enables us to break down work into smaller chunks that are more manageable and help to produce results earlier. Our process gives clients confidence in our work and allows us to spot potential issues early.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The relaxed atmosphere and how even though the work can be challenging, it isn’t overwhelming. I like that you can improve your skills at your own pace here and there is no shame in asking for help.
What is your favourite thing about working at Bluefruit?
The flexitime takes away some of the pressure of getting into work each morning. Plus, the lunchtime gaming sessions (we’re particularly into GeoGuessr right now) offer a nice refresher before getting on with work in the afternoon.
What do you do on the weekends or in your spare time?
In the summer I do a lot of gardening (mostly to attract wildlife) and growing food (mostly salad, but also currants, gooseberries, rhubarb and some herbs). I also go on lots of walks (if the weather isn’t too horrendous).
What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the software/tech/engineering space at the moment?
Commercial rocketry (SpaceX, reusable rockets, Mars/Moon colony plans, and so on). I think this is exciting because life becoming “multiplanetary” will represent the next biggest event since life became multi-cellular or colonised the land. The challenge of living away from the Earth will also spur development in technologies that will help improve life here on Earth too. Such as technologies to clean the atmosphere, improve human health, shield Earth from asteroids, and who knows what else.
If Bluefruit had an unlimited R&D budget, what would you want us to work on?
Life support systems for astronauts on other worlds.