In our weekly series of interviews this week we caught up with Microsoft MVP, Software Engineer, C# extraordinaire and general all round good egg Andrea.
Read on to find out about Andrea’s human alarm clock, giving back to the community and the top tips he recommends if you want to become a software engineer.
Your name and role
I am Andrea Angella and I am a Software Engineer in Redgate Software. I worked on many Redgate products including SQL Compare, SQL Monitor, SQL Source Control. I am now working on SQL Change Automation to help companies implement database DevOps and build reliable processes to deploy database changes easily.
How long have you done this, what did you do before?
I have 10+ years of professional software development experience and I have worked at Redgate in the past 5 years. Previously, I worked in Citrix and Autonomy (now acquired by HP).
How did you become a software engineer?
I started coding when I was 8 years old building games for my friends using BASIC on Casio calculators. Then I studied computer science at high school and got a master’s in computer science engineering at the University of Pisa. I am Italian but I decided to move to UK straight after university to learn English and find a job in a country with more opportunities in the field.
What sort of things did you do to prepare you for the role?
When I worked in Citrix, we were developing using a waterfall process. I was fascinated by agile software development and wanted to work in a truly agile company. Redgate was the best opportunity with a culture that fit perfectly my values. I read tons of technical books, practiced my coding skills by doing code katas, passed .NET certifications and more importantly I found a mentor able to teach me all about agile development practices like XP, TDD, Simple Design and more.
Did you always know you wanted to become a software engineer?
Yes, I am one of those lucky people who found his passion early in life and committed his time to nurture it and find a job around it.
What’s the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning?
My 5 years old son is my alarm! He is clearly what gets me out of bed in the morning and I love playing with him before coming to work.
I love learning. I love sharing. I love teamwork and pairing. When my team has a clear goal with clear tasks to be completed, I feel very engaged and can’t wait to write the great code with them to make it a reality.
I feel the responsibility of sharing my knowledge with the next generation of developers and I built Productive C# to make it a reality. This is something I do in my free time as a side-business but it’s something that really motivates me and force me to get better at my job every day and stay up to date with the latest trends.
I also must admit, the awesome free English breakfast is a good reason to get to the Redgate office every day 😊
What’s the thing that makes you want to put the alarm on snooze?
This tends to happen when I go to bed too late, usually learning or working on something I am excited about. I really need at least 7 hours to feel great for the day so it’s very important for me to constantly remind myself how important sleep is for my health.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone seeking to do your role?
The first key element is passion for learning. Find a mentor and attend technical communities. I was lucky to have a great mentor. It’s the quickest way to learn. Always ask questions. Keep learning every day. Find a company with a culture that match your personality. I am now giving back by being a mentor myself and I created Productive C# to help other developers.
Best advice to give to someone looking to join Redgate?
Get in the building during one of the many events we host. Meet other people working in Redgate, ask them to share their experiences and possibly get a recommendation from them. That’s how I got my job in Redgate. I met Jeff Foster during a legacy code retreat, and he convinced me to apply for Redgate.
I suggest practicing your coding skills as much as possible using sites like CodeWars and doing code katas and have a way to demonstrate your passion for learning and continuous improvement.
Finally, be a leader even if you don’t have the title. This is something I have done many times, and this is something that is possible and encouraged inside Redgate. You don’t have to have the title to lead important initiatives inside your team or the company.
Where do you see Redgate in 5 years’ time?
I would love to see Redgate become the number one tool to do database development regardless of your platform and your database system. I want to see our tools to be well integrated together. I would love to see the company grow while preserving the awesome learning culture.
What’s the motto you live by?
My favourite quote is “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”. I aspire to be better every day and share my learning with the world.
Describe what Ingeniously Simple means to you.
I think Ingeniously Simple is to business software what encapsulation is in object-oriented programming. You define a clear and easy to use interface hiding complexity to the users. Redgate products and solutions strive to be simple to learn and use while solving very complex problems underneath. We want our customers to easily use our products and let us do the hard work to make sure their database development processes work smoothly and reliably.