The decision to become a programmer was made on a whim in maths class in around my 4th year of high school. “The games industry has a massive lack of mathematicians.” said Mr. Mark as he stood in front of his fancy new Smartboard. And that’s when it happened, the seminal moment; “Hey! I like maths, AND I like games”. Up until this moment I hadn't given my future much thought and honestly the habit continued, despite my newfound clarity.
Fast-forward 2 years and I had found my way to the University of Abertay Dundee, studying Computer Games Technology with Mr. Mark to thank. I was finally able to turn my obsession with computer games into something more than just the focus of my parents’ resentment! The foundations of my programming background were built here and many of the lessons I learnt still stick with me today. The walk across the stage to receive my graduation certificate came around about as quickly as this paragraph has walked you through 4 years of my life. And that was that.
So without further ado, a day in the life of a dev:
Rolling out of bed, rubbing last night’s code out of my eyes, I curse having gone to bed as late as I did. The rush out the door is supplemented with a nutritious breakfast of Strawberries and Bavarian Cream (in vapour form) and is inhaled while waiting at the bus stop.
After being delivered to the office by my metallic steed for 9 o’clock, the kettle is popped on and a coffee is brewing. I say kettle, it’s more of a Future Faucet 3000™ that dispenses boiling water straight from the countertop as if by magic. What a time to be alive!
At around half past nine, the CTO will video call the development team and we will partake in a “Stand Up” over the net. Relaying any issues and updates about the projects we are currently working on. Advice and deliberations start as we hash out solutions between us. Once the business-talk is over, these meetings often devolve into a bit of a blether about new tech or services we have spotted that we could incorporate into our workflow.
This is where “normal operation” ends and time-of-year dictate how the rest of my day goes.
Starting in around July and extending until around December (hurricane season), we will normally be actively tracking multiple natural catastrophe events, which all have reports, and all reports have a map. I am one of the men in charge of the maps. From pulling in open source data from government agencies, to intelligence we’ve created in house, it all needs to be presented to our customers on an interactive map. Over the course of an event lifecycle the reports (and maps) go through many iterations as more information comes to light, or satellite imagery is released, so this tends to keep me busy for the day.
The off season on the other hand is where we have time to take the learnings from the previous season and work on improving our service. For example, last year it was noted that we were putting more and more information into our maps and the user interface and experience was suffering because of it. This observation lead us to spend a significant amount of time improving our map interface for our customers through the development of misGIS (McKenzie Intelligence Services Geographic Information System). Our proprietary GUI and analysis wrapper for mapbox (a web-mapping library). This has enabled us to create quality maps faster and more easily, than in previous years, to keep up with demand!
Now all this sounds like im taking on the world as a single man. Luckily for me, I have a Mike. Mike is our Technical Lead and his area of expertise is GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and Cartography. I wasn’t aware of my interest in all things GIS until joining MIS but Mike is a fountain of knowledge and has instilled a keen interest in me.
Working for MIS has been a fantastic learning experience so far. Working in a startup exposes you to areas of business you wouldn’t see if working for a larger organisation. It forces you to take on tasks that are outside your role and find interests you didn’t know you had. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Blog post, Check!
Published on May 7, 2019 11:07