A Day in the Life
In a new series, MIDAS speaks to professionals from Greater Manchester’s key sectors, to get a glimpse into a day in their working life.
This month we speak to James Gabbitus, Software Developer at Rupee Solutions
When I first wake up, I prepare for the day by...
The first thing I do to start the day is write down exactly what I plan to do and achieve throughout the day. I find that this really helps give a clear image of what I’ll be doing and what needs to be done, as well as bringing to light any questions or ideas that I’d like to share with the team.
My role is hybrid, but I mostly work from home. I aim to be in the office at least once a week so I can have a productive day, distraction-free, as well as have a good catch up with the Director of Rupee Solutions, Oli Galvin-Jones. I’d say hybrid working is what I prefer most, as it adds a nice element of variety when switching between working from the office and working from home.
To get to the office I commute by train from Buxton to Manchester Piccadilly which takes just an hour. On arrival, I’ll usually grab some food from the station and then walk to the Natwest Accelerator office in Spinningfields which takes around 25 minutes.
I'm responsible for...
As a Software Developer at Rupee Solutions, I’m responsible for helping adapt an existing codebase to the needs of Rupee Solutions so that the final application will be ready to go to market. This means designing and developing robust features and changes to the software while following best practices so that the code can be easily maintained over time.
Making a software change is a systematic process and requires a team effort. Creative problem solving, careful communication and a mutual understanding between the team is essential for successful implementations to the code. At Rupee Solutions, it’s essential that I understand the task that is to be undertaken, so this needs to be communicated clearly to me. I also need to communicate with clarity to my supervisor if I run into any doubts or complications so that we can come up with a solution. On top of this, software changes must be tested by Quality Assurance, so I as the developer need to communicate exactly what has been changed and how it can be tested. Any misunderstanding or miscommunication can have drastic consequences and consume valuable time or result in software complications.
"Software Development is more than just writing code."
Communication and keeping the workflow organised is paramount in the software development process. This is why at Rupee we understand the importance of agile methodology. With agile, the whole development cycle is streamlined. We have daily stand-ups where we’re able to get on the same page as each other and express what we did yesterday, what we’ll be doing today as well as any issues we may currently be dealing with. Use of kanbans allow the team to clearly visualise the workflow and progress of coding tasks and sprints help organise and prioritise tasks into 2 week intervals.
A typical day looks like...
A typical day would start with the daily stand-up meeting, then getting stuck-in on a task, whether that would be implementing a new feature or adding a change to an existing one. This would consume the majority of the day’s working hours. Other work involves making technical validation amendments from previously completed tasks and writing tests so that Quality Assurance can test the work.
Less typical days would involve going to events such as Accountex to get a good grasp of the UK accountancy landscape. This allows us to brainstorm new ideas that could be used to further improve the Rupee platform. Recently I also attended the Manchester Tech Festival which provided a great opportunity to network and keep up to date with the latest technological trends. Another memorable atypical day was the time when I had recently started my role and I met Rupee’s CEO, Guilherme Baumworcel, who had flown all the way over from Brazil. One day we had a meeting with MIDAS and after he took the UK team out for burritos.
As a startup company, attending events such as Accountex help a lot to inspire and encourage us to adapt our product to the UK market’s needs. Another way we do this is by working with Craig Kennedy, the Chief Executive at Koderly, who has provided valuable insight into adapting Rupee for the UK market. MIDAS is another organisation that has really helped Rupee Solutions by offering quality advice and assistance.
The best part of my day is...
The best part of each day is being able to work in a field that I’ve aimed to work in for a long time, facing new challenges and being able to learn and grow from them which I know will forever be valuable to me down the road. What I also like is when I’m really engaged and immersed with a programming task, the flow state experienced from that immersion is very enjoyable where you’re highly focused and lose all sense of time. The fact that the whole team is so friendly and supportive is also another key factor that assures you that you’re not alone and reminds you that the work is a team effort and there’s always help when it’s needed.
"Working within software development, one of the biggest challenges is coming up with creative, maintainable solutions. Software needs to be readable, elegant and easily maintained long-term."
Do you face any challenges and how do you overcome them?
As a new Ruby on Rails developer, I’m challenged a lot in my role. Getting to grips with a new framework can take a good amount of time as there is so much to learn and discover. Rupee’s codebase is also the largest I’ve worked with to date which has been very exciting because there’s so much of the software to explore and understand.
Some tasks that I’ve been assigned have proven to be a challenge for me. When this is the case, I’ll take a lot of time to really think about the problem and the desired solution. It helps to create a flowchart of the parts that are involved in the problem so I can really breakdown and visualise what’s going on and what needs to be implemented as well as where. A couple other things that have helped are writing down what needs to happen so that I can work out the changes, and writing pseudo code so I can get the logic down and work it out from that. If I get completely stuck, my experienced supervisor always has my back and he will give me hints and helpful insights into the problem at hand.
What would someone who wants to break into your industry need to know?
Make sure it’s for you. Software development requires a lot of thinking and problem solving and that’s what you’ll spend a lot of your time doing. Build yourself a project or two to get a taste for it, and if you’re loving it, perfect.
A sure-fire way to get into the industry is to have a strong portfolio. Figure out exactly what role you want, look at job posts for that role and take note of the most common tech stacks. Build projects using these tech stacks and have them online so you can show them off to employers. You can also volunteer to help out a start-up company to gain some solid experience.
How do you collaborate with the wider Accounting and digital ecosystem?
We’re working with the Natwest Business Accelerator which provides one-to-one coaching, a programme of thought leadership and events, access to a network of like-minded peers, focused support and use of modern co-working spaces. We also attend Manchester Digital Events so that we’re not in the dark when it comes to emerging technology as well as technological trends and news. To keep up to date and to gain inspiration in the FinTech realm we also attend trade events such as Accountex.
Greater Manchester is known as being one of the UK’s most liveable cities – how do you make the most of it?
There’s such a variety of things to do in Manchester. On the weekends I’ll often find myself having a drink with friends in the Northern Quarter or in Deansgate. Peter Street has some great venues like Blues Kitchen, Albert Schloss or NQ64 if you fancy a drink and a go on a retro arcade game. There are also great places to eat out, like Honest Burgers, Crazy Pedro’s, a hidden little gem called This & That on Soap Street, Sangam, and if you like boba tea, ICFT is the best in Manchester.