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International Programmers Day 2020: Q & A with James Brealey

For International Programmers Day 2020, one of our Senior Software Engineers, James Brealey, answers some questions about the world of coding and software developement.

Who in the world of coding do you admire the most?

Although not a coder, Tommy Flowers tops my list. I find his story both inspirational and heartbreaking in equal measure. He designed and built the first programmable computer – the Colossus machine at Bletchley Park during World War II. Sadly, because it had to be kept a secret, he didn’t receive recognition for his work until the 1970s. Fast forward to the early 1990s and he was required to take a course in basic computing that included such skills as saving and opening word documents.

Next on the list would be Linus Torvalds who gave the world both Git and the Linux kernel – although given what he has to say about us C++ devs I might have to rethink this entry!

How did you get into coding?

As a child I had a BBC micro. Magazines used to print program source-code for games, among other things. I used to try and make the games work, typing them out line by line... I don't think I got many to work and those that I did were never as fun to play as I imagined, but it definitely sparked an interest in me! I remember the first time I saw C in a text editor and being baffled by the lack of line numbers!

What’s been your greatest achievement as a developer so far?

Does completing Sonic the Hedgehog count?

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Seeing the real world applications of the software I work on in the manufacturing industry is really rewarding. It’s always a great feeling knowing blue chip customers are using and praising the results of my efforts.

I love getting the opportunity to be at the forefront of development of a product and be actively involved in seeing it through from prototype to market.

What advice would you give to someone starting a career within software development?

To really enjoy what you do. Focus on something you are genuinely interested in and that you enjoy doing. If you can get that bit right, it is all about just relaxing and enjoying the ride.


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