🎉 Hello World 🎉

This being my first post I thought it prudent to begin with a short introduction of who the heck am I and what do I think I know about Software Engineering.

Well, to answer the first question, I am David Halewood and I am currently a day away from being a Software Craftsman Apprentice at a company called Codurance. I have been many things but most recently I was a Software Engineer at Redgate in Cambridge. Before that, I completed a 180 career change from being an Outdoor Education teacher (and briefly a Contracts Manager in the resin flooring industry) via the amazing bootcamp Makers Academy.

Being a student at Makers helped instil within me a desire to not just write code but to do it the “right way”. For them, that means using SOLID principles, XP values, TDD and pair programming by default. I learnt Ruby, Javascript, git, how to “badasify my terminal” and how to write an excellent README! I also made some great connections in the industry through friendships, meet-ups, and events held at Makers HQ. Most importantly I discovered that I had a real passion for programming and I’d made the right decision to switch careers. A good thing too, since it wasn’t a cheap endeavor to say that least! Well worth it though as not 2 weeks after graduating I had my first job in the tech industry.

Redgate makes tools for database developers, primarily for the Microsoft SQL (Sequal) Server platform. If you interact with a SQL Server in any way it’s likely that you’ve heard of them. My role was within the Foundry team or “Research and Development” and involved developing EAPs, wire-framing, value propositions, user calls, and also some coding! We worked within a lean startup workflow and iteration quickly, always gaining as much feedback from users through telemetry, calls and often through using the awesome Intercom.

I learnt a great deal from my time there and I’m forever grateful to Redgate for providing me with a platform to grow as an engineer and become a better person. I truly mean that. Redgate understands how to create a culture and to value what each human being brings to the organization and ultimately their end-users. I have worked for many large organizations around the world and have to say none come close to the culture and sense of community I felt at Redgate. If you ever find yourself in Cambridge looking for a kick-ass job I highly recommend them.

“So, if they are so great, why did you leave?” I heard no one say. Well, for me, I never quite settled in Cambridge, lovely as it is. This is a solid chunk of the reason why I now find myself about to embark on this new challenge. I was also blown away by the process of interviewing with Codurance. From the moment I was approached to the moment I accepted the opportunity, Codurance represented themselves in a way that made it difficult, nay impossible, to refuse. I knew, for sure, I was going to be in good hands.

The interview process served to increase my confidence in my abilities, even though it was clear I was woefully short in some areas of experience. I received detailed feedback at all stages and there was no denying the offer made was the correct offer. I loved their open communication and the more I found out (from reading their publications, speaking to former employees and some LinkedIn stalking) the surer I was that this was something I had to do.

I’ll admit it’s a little hard to swallow having to change my LinkedIn from “Software Engineer” to a title that has “Apprentice” in it. However, the important distinction to be made from my former role to this is the word “Craftsman”. That is what I’m putting my stock in.

So what does that mean to me? Well, for now, it means taking control of my career and recognizing the importance of these formative years of my profession. It means striving to learn, aspiring to produce well-crafted software, helping raise the bar of software development, intentional practice and aspiring to help others learn.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say on Software Craftsmanship over the coming months and I’ll certainly be sharing it here along with as many resources, thoughts, tips and learnings I encounter along the way.

Till then, wish me luck.