Diane is one of our world class Software Engineers. We chatted with her about getting our customers ready to embrace hybrid working, the evolution of software development and wildlife spotting in the grounds of our Romsey site.
What do you do at Roke?
I’m a Software Engineer. I’m interested in the art of programming, and the really dark art of delivering software as a team. I focus on algorithms, image processing and machine learning; but really any interesting problem that admits a solution in software motivates me to get up in the morning and log in to my corporate laptop.
What does a typical day for you look like?
We have the most exciting projects! For the last couple of years my main responsibility has been as a Scrum Master for an Agile delivery team on a cryptography project. I’m also a line manager - mostly for engineers in the Data Science profession. Aside from these things, Roke has allowed me to forge my own path with some ‘extra-curricular’ activities: I’m a part-time Agile Software coach delivering training to all the engineers in NS and I have also been chair of our LGBT employee resource group.
I liked the idea of consulting on a project basis for customers. It means projects are always changing and it keeps the challenges flowing and the work interesting. I like helping people solve problems and Roke had plenty of customers with really complex technical problems to solve. Roke also has a beautiful campus in Romsey and I liked the idea of maybe bumping into a deer on my lunch time walk!
How have you applied past experience to your career at Roke?
I left university with a PhD in Mathematics and a dream of pivoting to become a software developer. From there I’ve had software development roles working in lots of different areas, such as: embedded systems, Linux device drivers, video compression algorithms and financial services trading algorithms. This diversity of experience means that when I’m put on a new project for one of our customers, I can draw on that wide range of knowledge to pick a path that really delivers value for them.
What changes are coming up that you think will impact the needs of our customers and how can we help?
Remote and hybrid working will mean a change to how many projects are run. For example, many of our clients are having to ensure that the way they work isn’t negatively impacted by increasingly mobile workforces. The engineering skills and technical enablers to support this change are something Roke and the NS business unit is very capable of, and very well positioned to provide.
How has software engineering changed in recent years?
We’re moving away from a traditional engineering mind set for software – like how you might build a bridge – towards embracing software as part of the design process. This is the case particularly in Agile software development practices and the emergence of DevOps, placing importance on capabilities like automated testing, automated deployment pipelines and infrastructure as code. In the end it means bringing the customer closer to the developers. Bringing testing closer to implementation and delivering value to the customer sooner, in smaller chunks and on a regular cadence.
How has Roke supported your career so far?
Roke gives me the space to do good work and recognises my achievements. I also know I have the support of my team, co-workers and line manager when I need it. It’s a fantastic place to work!
What do you do when not working?
Besides parenting an exuberant five year old? Right now, hula hooping and historical war-gaming are what keep me excited when I’m not at my computer.
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