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THE LIFE OF A DEVELOPMENT TEAM LEAD AT CAP HPI

Monday 8th May 2017

In this guest blog we hear from Adrian Thomas, Development Team Leader at cap hpi in Leeds. Here he tells us more about his job role, his career journey and provides some tips to candidates looking to follow a similar path.

Who are you and what do you do?
"I’m Adrian Thomas, a Development Team Leader for cap hpi and I lead a small yet productive team, continuously delivering new functionality on some of cap hpi’s flagship products and have been doing so for the past 2 years."

In your own words, what does a Development Team Leader do?
"A development team leader is responsible for a number of things so must be good at multitasking. Ensuring requirements are available, keeping team morale high, identifying and removing bottlenecks, frequent delivery of what is produced, continuous improvement and managing expectations are just some of the responsibilities".

What do you like most about being a Development Team Leader?
"Leading a team to success, yet still being a developer that can get my hands dirty."

What’s your career journey been so far?
"I’ve always been in to computers from a young age and understanding how they work. I was playing with languages from a young age, and wrote my first website in HTML when I was 14 for a school project. It was always a hobby and I didn’t do any professional development until after I completed a Masters in Computer Science with Games Development at The University of Hull. Within the university as part of the course, I worked for SEED Software which delivers solutions for real clients. After I graduated I started working as a developer for a small well known Microsoft consultancy in West Yorkshire, where I stayed for 3 years before starting at cap hpi (at the time, CAP Automotive). After a few months of being a developer at cap hpi, an opportunity for a development team leader arose and I applied for it given that I had already demonstrated leadership capabilities within the time I had been at cap hpi. 2 years on and here I am, responding to this Q&A."

What’s a typical day like for you?
"Typically it is being a developer as well as performing various DevOps activities, communicating with the business (BAU, support work, project work), organising my team so they work effectively and facilitating the unblocking of any issues that we are currently having."

Being a Development Team Leader for most is more than just a job, what do you do outside of work?
"Well, apart from learning about new tech and developing my own projects, I’m in to cars, and occasionally take my 350Z on tracks around the UK, which after the fact usually also involves cleaning, maintaining and repairing it too. I also took it to the Nurburgring last year and anticipate taking it again soon. When I’m not driving, I also enjoy the occasional beverage on an evening with friends and colleagues."

What is important to you when deciding where to work?
-Technical Training; We all know as developers we need to stay current, and if training is offered then it’s one less thing to worry about. Of course, we don’t have the tech to load it directly in to our brains like off of The Matrix, so training courses, books, exams and conferences will have to do for now.

-Tools (software and hardware): There’s nothing more frustrating than having a slow machine, a single monitor to work from or not having valuable tooling available. We use our machines for a significant amount of time, thus ensuring I have a powerful workstation and comfortable working environment is very important.

-Flexible Working: Often life gets in the way of work (or should that be the other way round?), but being able to work from home when necessary or turn up to the office a little late is a significant bonus that can certainly reduce stress.

-Open / honest / friendly environment :Sometimes things don’t go to plan, and being able to be open and honest about problems can help ensure a solution is found much sooner. If something isn’t working, or something could be improved, then it’s vital that I can stand up and discuss this with my colleagues to make a positive change.

Fortunately, I find all these things are available at cap hpi.


What are your top three tips for someone considering a career move as Development Team Leader?
1. Stay current with tech
2. Be hands on
3. Communicate effectively


How do you see development changing in the future?
Barrier to entry will be lower
- Coding will be taught from a younger age (due to demand)
- Code will be written at a higher level, making it easier to begin coding and be more productive sooner
- The cost of hardware and software to write code is already very low (see: Raspberry Pi)
- Ordinary businesses will become technical businesses that have their own developers at a more aggressive pace than we are currently seeing.
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