As part of our #NewJobJune week we’ll be sharing the career history of our own Redgaters and the many varied ways they got into software engineering and design. Today we speak to Jeff Foster our Head of Product Engineering at Redgate.
I’m Jeff and I’m Head of Product Engineering at Redgate. I’ve been in the role at Redgate for the last 4 or so years, and prior to doing that I was a software engineer on various teams around the business.
Prior to joining Redgate, I’ve had a pretty varied career! I finished University and enjoyed it so much, I managed to stay for another few years doing a PhD in recognizing people by the way they walk. After that, I thought I wanted to be a scientist, but found that writing code was a whole lot more rewarding. At a small startup I learnt LOADS by building an awesome development experience, but ultimately this failed. Just before Redgate, I worked at a large Enterprise search firm where I worked on building petabyte scale search systems. I joined Redgate in 2011 and haven’t looked back since.
I became head of engineering because I really enjoy the continual learning. I think it’s amazing that we’re sixty or so years into Software Engineering and no-one really has a clue how to do it effectively. It’s great fun being part of an organization that cares about how software is developed and being in a position to (hopefully) make it better?
How did I prepare for the role? I really wanted this job, so I reached out to some industry experts to get their point of view.
I reached out to Ron Jeffries (and a fair few other people too!) way back in 2012 and asked “if you could choose to apply one practice to improve an organization what would it be?”. From a bit of dialog back and forth and Ron summed it up thus:
> Making mistakes? Work together.
> Things don’t work? More tests.
> Retrofitting tests pain in the ass? Test first, and refactor for test-ability.
> Improvements take too long? Learn how to do smaller refactoring steps.
This is the crux of the matter. The solutions to writing great software are simple, it’s just hard!
In terms of what gets me out of bed in the morning? It’s about that continuous drive for continuous improvement. As I said before, the world is still learning how to make great software and it’s exciting to play some small part in doing that.
For me the best advice to give to someone looking to join Redgate is to demonstrate you love to learn. As a hiring manager, I’m much more excited about someone’s appetite to learn rather than where they are on some skill curve. If you’ve got a passion to learn and are able to reflect on your own mistakes then you’re exactly the sort of person we’re looking for.
What is ingeniously simple? I’ll go for, an ingeniously simple bit of software allows me to do the complicated without being complex.