Our weekly series where we speak to the people who power our Product Development area. This week we spoke to Dan who is one of our awesome software engineer interns.
Every year Redgate invites 7–8 interns across the design and engineering set of study to come and work at Redgate for 10 weeks across the summer. Its a paid role and our interns work in our normal development teams doing real world work. The aim is to give them a taste of what software engineering is like in a real company, share skills with them and listen to the ideas and opinions they have as well.
Your name and role
My names Daniel Pottenger and I’m an Software Engineer Intern at Redgate.
How long have you done this, what did you do before?
I’m currently on my 8th week of a 10 week summer internship at Redgate. Before Redgate, I had just finished my 2nd year at university, and worked for a small company based in North Wales building software for RFID software applications in C#. It started off as a summer job at the end of my first year at university, but I was offered to stay on as a supportive role throughout my second year, before finally joining Redgate in July.
How did you become a software engineer?
I spent a lot of time in the past several years working on game related hobby projects. I started programming flash games, and made a bit of money on websites like Newgrounds and through a partnership with Poki, before moving on to using the MonoGame framework with C#. I felt like getting a degree was an important step for me which is why I then went off to study at Computer Science at university.
What sort of things did you do to prepare you for the role?
Just before the interview at Redgate, I had prepared by working through a lot of examples on HackerRank, and reading the book ‘Cracking the coding interview’ by Gayle McDowell. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos on how tech interviews are usually conducted to get a better understanding of what I could expect. Prior to starting at Redgate, I was in contact with the team, and my manager had recommended a couple of books including ‘C# in depth’ by Jon Skeet, which I admit I haven’t read completely, but from what I have read I would recommend it to anyone interested in working at Redgate as we work primarily with C#. Other than technical preparation, I read a lot about the culture at Redgate through their blogs and websites like Glassdoor.
Did you always know you wanted to become a software engineer?
I hadn’t always wanted to become a programmer. Like most children, I aspired to be a bunch of random unrelated things. I had made websites using HTML, and I had done a little bit of ActionScript growing up, but I didn’t commit myself until my early twenties. Since then I have been entirely focussed on becoming a software engineer. I had initially wanted to work in games, but then I realised that it wasn’t making games that made me happy, but solving problems.
What’s the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning?
Knowing that I have something to learn gets me rolling. I become unmotivated if I go into a new day without knowing I’ll have something new to learn and discover. I think the best thing that Redgate has given me so far has been knowing that at work I’ll be learning new and better ways of solving things — which is a great motivator.
What’s the thing that makes you want to put the alarm on snooze?
If I think I’ll need more time in bed then I’ll set an alarm later. I’m of the group of people that believe that the snooze button shouldn’t exist.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone seeking to do your role?
Talking from the perspective of an Intern, don’t be afraid. I was especially fearful coming from a fairly small university and knowing that there will be people coming from much more known establishments. If you’re currently a student and want to go in to working as a full-time software engineer, then keep learning and push yourself to develop a better understanding. Universities really don’t cover the important stuff these days, and the modules that they run are often out of date, so seek education elsewhere to establish stronger knowledge. If you’re not at university, and you’re pursuing a self-taught route into software engineering, then this advice still stands. Make yourself stand out, and do the things that no one else is doing.
Best advice to give to someone looking to join Redgate?
Redgate really care about communication. I’ve only been here for 8 weeks now but one of the things I’ve noticed is that everyone is talking, either at the coffee machines or at one of the many events that are held at Redgate. A lot of people have said that although you might be an amazing engineer, which is important, Redgate really care that you can work well in a team and can communicate effectively. Focus on those soft skills, and most importantly never doubt yourself.
Where do you see Redgate in 5 years’ time?
I imagine Redgate are going to continue delivering amazing software and building fantastic teams within the business. From being here for such a short time, it’s amazing to see just how loved the software that Redgate deliver is, and I think that it’ll continue to adapt and still be relevant going in to the future.
What’s the motto you live by?
Tomorrow never comes — I read this motto a while back, and it has been something I’ve lived by ever since. Tomorrow never comes, so never commit yourself to solving a problem in the future. If you find something wrong, or you want to do something, then do it today. If it is important enough to you then nothing should get in the way. Prioritise your dreams.
Describe what Ingeniously Simple means to you.
You don’t need complex solutions to solve complex problems. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is by thinking outside the box, and coming up with something so ingeniously simple that everyone can understand and get on board with.