What's it like to be a Developer at SquaredUp?

As a technically-focused business and one that's led by a Product Architect, our developers really are the heart of SquaredUp, playing a critical role in ensuring we build awesome software that fixes real issues for our clients and does so with the minimum of fuss.

Our team's made up of an eclectic mix of developers from an array of backgrounds, ranging from interns up to lead developers with many years of experience.

To give you an insight into what life is like as a developer at SquaredUp, we're pleased to share an interview with Wayne Plummer, Lead Developer. Wayne is one of our most experienced developers and is infamous for his dad jokes! Check out what he has to say about working at SquaredUp, development as a career, and how much it has changed since his first job.


How long have you been working as a developer?

I’ve been in software development for 38 years, my first job was for Honeywell Information Systems in 1980.


Why did you decide to work in development?

I was fortunate enough to be chosen as a “guinea pig” in a demonstration of the suitability of the language LOGO, lead by the inspirational Seymour Papert of MIT at Exeter University in the summer of 1972. It involved six weeks of learning to program with robotic turtles with touch sensors, solving brock mazes or drawing on the floor with a pen. There was also a four-channel polyphonic music box, which was like science fiction come to life back in the 70s! 

How long have you worked at SquaredUp?

Just coming up to two years now.


What does your role involve?

I'm the lead developer on our exciting Visual Application Discovery & Analysis (VADA) feature. VADA pulls live connectivity data from servers which are being monitored by Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and uses it to build up a topological diagram of the architecture of a deployed application. It's a really cool feature and one which we're investing heavily in for our vNext release, with tons of new functionality coming soon, so it's a pretty good gig. 


What attracted you to SquaredUp?

Having worked with Richard Benwell (SquaredUp Founder and Product Architect) at Citrix, I was well aware of his ability to make monitoring data accessible and meaningful to system administrators. I could see that his new venture was doing a fantastic job of allowing SCOM customers to get clearer insights into what was happening in their environments and I really wanted to be a part of it. I was ready for a new challenge and getting involved in the exciting world of front-end development with HTML5, CSS and JavaScript was a great draw.


What are the most challenging parts of your job?

The greatest challenge I face is JavaScript itself! Having got used to using strongly-typed languages, I am greatly offended that, when I occasionally mistype something in a source file, I don’t get warned about it immediately! I’ve found that this can lead to wasted development time. To overcome this issue, I have been leading the effort to get our front-end development transitioned to using TypeScript, which gives the best of both worlds.


What are your highlights from the past year at SquaredUp?

Seeing Richard Benwell demonstrating the product that I work on every day live on stage at major conferences, like Microsoft Ignite, is always a highlight for me. It gives me a real buzz to see how well he demonstrates how the software can solve real problems and to see how positively his audiences respond.



What’s on the wish list for you for the next couple of years at SquaredUp?

For me, it’s all about being given opportunities to enhance the end-user experience of SquaredUp in order to make administrators’ jobs easier. Also, less JavaScript and more TypeScript!


How does working for a start-up compare to working for a large, established brand?

SquaredUp is my fourth job; my first and third jobs were with very large companies and my second and this current job with small companies. Armed with many years’ experience in both types of company, I can say that I far prefer small! I relish the absence of cumbersome processes that would otherwise result in wasted development time. The development process at SquaredUp is just what we need – if something changes and the process we’re using is no longer ideal for the new situation, then we change it without any fuss. Also, having a small development team located within a single office enables effective communication, avoiding the possibility of wasteful blunders (which I have seen happen on several occasions in larger companies!).


How do you think development has changed since you first started out?

I would say that the big changes were, firstly, the introduction of email and other more modern collaboration systems for improving communication between developers and, secondly, internet search engines for massively improving access to reference materials. I cannot imagine ever going back to how we used to work in my first job!


What are the best and worst things about being a developer?

Seeing a challenging problem solved well is definitely one of the most rewarding parts of my job. As for the downsides, it can be frustrating when something I've developed isn't working and it's taking time to work out why.


What advice would you give someone who wants to embark on a career in development?

If you're passionate about software development, just do it! In my experience, it’s the aspiring developers who are already spending their spare time doing software development as a hobby who flourish in the profession and end up having the most rewarding careers.


Want to get in on the action and join our awesome development team? Great, you're in luck - we're looking for talented developers right now! Check out the vacancies here.