Meet the Engineer - Harvey, Software Engineer - Bluefruit Software

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A Bluefruit colleague sat in the Chill Out Room.Hi, Harvey! Thanks for chatting with us. Are you able to tell us a bit about your latest project?

I’m currently working on an assisted living device. We’ve been working with the client for the past two years. I started as a tester on the device, and now I’m a Software Engineer.

What sort of role do you have here at Bluefruit?

I write code for embedded software projects, using Test Driven Development (TDD) and object-oriented code practices. TDD means that we write tests before writing the code. Doing this helps us think about the design and what we want it to do, as well as avoiding writing code that isn’t needed. This also means we can see when our code works and when there’s a good chance it is broken.
I don’t have direct client contact, but I’m involved in planning meetings, retrospectives and general team activities like sprint planning and stand-ups.

What skills do you need to do your job?

My work involves a lot of different skills day-to-day, like:

  Coding languages such as C and C++ (I picked these up during my apprenticeship, learning C++ through a course at college really helped too)
  Problem-solving
  Team Work, and being driven and enthusiastic
  Being familiar with TDD and object-oriented practices
  Reading schematics, which is also important because I’m developing for embedded software and you need to be able to read diagrams of the components involved in the physical device the code is for

How did you learn how to do what you do?

I’ve done a lot of research from home and taken online courses. Four years ago, I took part in Mission to Mars. And when I was still at school, I managed to get work experience here at Bluefruit during the Easter holidays. At school, I took GCSE Computer Science.
After school, I started an apprenticeship. The most important thing for me was on the job training. I truly believe apprenticeships are the best thing for learning. My apprenticeship lasted one-and-a-half years, here at Bluefruit, which was amazing, because it was one of the first computing apprenticeships in Cornwall with a software development company!
I’ve trained in different areas: testing software, learning C++, and fixing bugs. I’ve had mixed learning groups, helpful colleagues and a mentor. Being a part of different teams and pairing with colleagues has helped me a lot to progress and grow. I really like the level of training available here at Bluefruit. Also being able to visit conferences.
The format of apprenticeships has changed in the past year, so what our current apprentices are going through is different in some ways to what I experienced.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The variety of work and problems we’re trying to solve. From working on industrial pumps to glucose and ketone monitors for diabetics—projects that are going to make a difference in people’s lives.

What is your favourite thing about working at Bluefruit?

I love the culture at Bluefruit, it’s awesome! I really enjoy having flexitime and working with people who are so excited and passionate about what they do.
Plus, everyone has the chance to grow. I can learn more and I’m encouraged to. I have a career. Training never ends, meaning I can develop quickly, and there are regular feedback and reviews every month, and pay reviews every three months.
Rich is also a good team lead. Willing to let the team indulge our pizza cravings when we want.
But flexitime is important to me because I can have more time for family, adjusting my hours when I need to.

What do you do on the weekends or in your spare time?

I look after my son and I like to meditate, work out and code.

What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the software/tech/engineering space at the moment?

AI is growing really fast. For instance, Google recently released an “all-neural, on-device” voice recognition system that sits on-board a phone. It runs from several new neural networks hosted on the device, working with their existing Gboard app and upgrades its voice recognition capabilities so that it can work offline and be everywhere—no cloud connection, no latency.
I found out about this during a talk at the March Tech Connect event, which was hosted at Heartlands. I’m hoping to learn more about this technology when I go to the Future Sync conference in April, which is up in Plymouth.

If Bluefruit had an unlimited R&D budget what would you want us to work on?

Voice controlled drone.