In the latest of our Meet the Team series, we turn the spotlight on Software Developer Joe Pickering and discover his true passion for programming.
Thank you for taking a moment to talk with us, Joe. Can you tell us little about your work history and how you it led you to Datapath?
I graduated from Staffordshire University where I undertook Computer Games Programming. Following that, I’m fortunate enough to have Datapath as my first role in terms of working in the industry.
Datapath has been tremendously helpful in sharing their expertise – there is quite a distinctive gap between modernised software engineering practices at University level and in industry. I’m approaching my first anniversary at Datapath and I can confidently say that I’ve learnt more in one year than all my four University years combined.
My interest in lower hardware level development and graphics programming was a match for my role here – in the graphics team we use APIs both including and related to these. Developing advanced usage of C++ to work at a low level feels tremendously uplifting and satisfying, so working here is fulfilling that feeling of the art of engineering.
Can you give us a bit of insight on what normal day looks like for a Software Developer in Test at Datapath?
Come in, switch on your dev machine, find some playlist to listen to on YouTube or Spotify and then get in the zone. Usually this is accompanied with a coffee or an energy drink I’ve brought in (the typical programmer thing).
Every day we have a stand up at 10am which involves the members of the team discussing what they worked on the day before, in this, we’re able to easily offer additional quick guidance/tips for each other. Afterwards I crack on. Sometimes the work is a simple implementation of a couple of features we require in our codebase which are easy to implement. Other times you’ve got to brainstorm and write things down, architecting a paradigm before you implement it.
What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your role?
I’d say the most rewarding part of my role so far has been learning and applying new knowledge/programming features. I recently implemented a bit of partial template class specialisation to construct a feature which will become a core part of our codebase for testing and our render framework. It was no easy task and was a bit of a behemoth to begin with but after some time, the code came together. This was regarded by a coworker as “expert” level c++, which felt greatly rewarding, additionally knowing that I’m learning a copious amount of knowledge in graphics related hardware and software and able to recall/apply it also feels very rewarding.
Challenging parts can be keeping all of that knowledge together. Additionally, it’s taking work away which can be out of my knowledgebase and then having to develop it. You don’t need to understand something in thorough detail before you develop it; you just need to know where to look and how to learn that topic, but that itself can be very challenging.
How do you like to spend your time away from the office?
Outside of the office I like to socialise with friends, we’re the typical bunch of computer geeks that play games. I’m currently in a D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) campaign where I play an easily irritable and profane wizard and do a voice like Sir Ian McKellen’s Gandalf’s from Lord of the Rings.
I sometimes play the guitar, but if you heard me play you’d want me to stop.
I also try to spend time with my girlfriend who I see at the weekends, and outside of all of that I spend time on passion projects/hobbies involving programming.
Tell us something people may not know about you…
As of the time of writing this, I’m the youngest employee in the company and I once had an indie games company called Implode Games where I released game engine source code.