Alexan Anderson: Freshly promoted mid-level software engineer 

We are thrilled to announce Alexan Anderson’s well-deserved promotion from junior to mid-level developer, effective March 1, 2024!

Alexan joined DrakkenTech in November 2021, becoming one of the first permanent employees alongside Shane, about six months after Pieka founded the company in April of that year.

Over the last couple of years, Alexan has consistently demonstrated his ability to tackle any obstacle. His initial position at DrakkenTech placed him as the primary developer for a significant big data business intelligence project for our client Ergopak, a technology company that manufactures high-tech industrial scales. The project posed serious challenges in creating responsive data visualizations based on millions of records syncing in from dozens of sites worldwide and managing data security and segregation.

Despite the daunting nature of this task, Alexan emerged victorious, demonstrating remarkable resilience and skill. To this day, Ergopak specifically requests his involvement, appreciating his meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence.

Since then, Alexan has led various projects, including developing an interactive web-hosted logo designer and a mobile app that integrates with a security network and administration portals for some of our other mobile apps.

Alexan’s growth has been consistently impressive, solidifying his role as a cornerstone of our team. His expertise spans database engineering, dev ops, and front-end development, and he has played a pivotal role in the success and advancement of our projects and team.

As Alexan steps into his new role as a mid-level developer, we are confident that he will continue to excel and bring fresh insights to our endeavours.

We sat down with him and reminisced about his time at DrakkenTech. Here is the interview:

1.) As you celebrate this well-deserved promotion, could you share a bit about your journey with DrakkenTech over the past two years?

My journey over the past two years…wow, honestly, it has definitely been quite a roller coaster ride, filled with highs and lows. To give you an idea, when I just started, I was thrown into the deep end, and even though initially it was stressful, the experience turned out to be immensely rewarding, offering me vast exposure and significantly improving my skills. So, even though it has been a bit of a see-saw, I am now at the stage where I feel confident taking on any challenge.

2.) You mentioned the ups and downs, what were some of the highlights and challenges you experienced / encountered over the past two years?

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs at Drakkentech. As a junior team member, one of the toughest parts was feeling the heat to get projects ready for production before deadlines hit. It was a real test of my problem-solving skills and how fast I could tackle a never-ending pile of issues.

But hey, it wasn’t all rough sailing. One of the coolest moments was getting the Ergopak project off the ground and seeing it actually being put to use by clients in Spain and Morocco. And let me tell you, building a solid relationship with those clients was a highlight too. They even gave me a friendly nudge once, saying I was being a bit too formal with them. So yeah, it’s been a wild ride these past two years, but definitely one I’m thankful for.

3.) What are some of the skills that you have learned in your time at DrakkenTech?

During my time at DrakkenTech, I’ve acquired a range of valuable skills that have significantly enhanced my capabilities. Firstly, I’ve mastered the art of constructing reusable components in frontend development, a skill that’s proven indispensable for efficient and scalable project development. Additionally, I’ve honed my expertise in writing Rest APIs, which has empowered me to create robust and flexible backend systems. Moreover, I’ve gained a deep understanding of maintaining Flask servers, ensuring their stability and optimal performance over time. These skills have not only enriched my experience at DrakkenTech but also equipped me with a strong foundation for success in all my future endeavors.

4.) Besides the Ergopak project, what are some other projects you are particularly proud of?

Apart from the Ergopak project, one of the projects that stands out for me is the mobile app I recently developed. Despite being my first venture into mobile development, I quickly grasped the concepts and techniques involved. It was an immensely enjoyable experience, and I believe my enthusiasm for exploring new technologies played a significant role in my rapid learning curve. Working on the mobile app was not only fulfilling but also a testament to my adaptability and eagerness to embrace new challenges.

5.) What specific problem did you find interesting?

The problem that particularly intrigued me was encountered during the Ergopak project. The client required a solution to synchronize data from a local database to a backup server and subsequently replicate it to the database utilized for their web application. This intricate three-step process posed several challenges, primarily ensuring efficient data transfer while mitigating the risk of data loss.

Addressing this challenge involved meticulously setting up triggers to initiate the synchronization process. With numerous tables involved, this task became long and arduous, requiring careful attention to detail to avoid potential errors. Recognizing the need for a more streamlined approach, I developed a Python script to automate the process effectively. This not only optimized the synchronization process but also minimized the risk of human error. By eliminating the possibility of overlooking crucial elements within the triggers, such as specific characters, the script ensured a seamless and error-free data transfer process.

6.) Taking into account everything you have accomplished, was the DrakkenTech environment supportive? How did DrakkenTech provide you with the space and support to expand your skill set?

DrakkenTech has been absolutely incredibly supportive throughout my tenure. From providing me with a new laptop to work with to fostering a collaborative environment with exceptional colleagues, the company has ensured that I had the necessary tools and resources to thrive. Moreover, whenever I felt overwhelmed or encountered challenges, I could always count on my colleagues for their assistance and support. Their willingness to lend a helping hand and offer guidance played a pivotal role in my growth and development within the company. Overall, DrakkenTech has created a conducive environment that not only facilitated the expansion of my skill set but also encouraged continuous learning and collaboration.

7.) What are important lessons or principles that you learned during your time at DrakkenTech?

During my time at DrakkenTech, I’ve gained invaluable lessons and principles that have significantly shaped my professional growth. One of the most crucial skills I acquired was efficient time management. Learning to allocate my time effectively enabled me to tackle tasks more systematically and meet deadlines with greater ease.

Additionally, I delved into the implementation of DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) coding practices. Through hands-on experience and mentorship, I steadily honed my coding skills, striving for greater efficiency and elegance in my code with each iteration. Today, I take pride in ensuring that my code adheres to the highest standards of DRY principles.

Beyond technical proficiency, my time at DrakkenTech provided invaluable lessons in client interaction and professional etiquette. Navigating client meetings with confidence and crafting articulate and professional correspondence via email taught me the importance of effective communication and maintaining a professional demeanor in client interactions.

Furthermore, serving as a mentor to current and past interns afforded me the opportunity to develop leadership skills. Guiding them through challenges and offering insights based on my own experiences enriched their learning and bolstered my growth as a leader within the organization.

Overall, my journey at DrakkenTech has been marked by continuous learning and growth, both in technical proficiency and interpersonal skills, laying a solid foundation for my future endeavors.

8.) What technology did you use that you thought were great to work with and that you would recommend to others?

Throughout my tenure at DrakkenTech, I’ve found React for frontend development and Python for backend development to be exceptionally effective and enjoyable.

React’s flexibility and component-based architecture make it ideal for building dynamic and interactive user interfaces, making it my top recommendation for frontend development.

On the backend, Python stands out for its simplicity, readability, and extensive library support. Its robust ecosystem and community support ensure solutions for virtually any problem, making it highly versatile and efficient.

In summary, I highly recommend React for frontend development and Python for backend development. Their combination has proven successful for me at DrakkenTech, and I believe they can provide significant value to others in their projects as well.

9.) What tools would you recommend to others?

When it comes to streamlining workflow and enhancing productivity, here are some tools I recommend based on my experience at DrakkenTech:

Image Background Remover: For frontend development, using an image background remover tool can be incredibly useful, especially for tasks involving image manipulation or UI design. It simplifies the process of removing backgrounds from images, saving valuable time and effort.

Postman: For backend development, Postman is an indispensable tool for testing endpoints. It allows you to send requests to API endpoints, examine responses, and identify errors or issues in your code before deployment. This ensures the reliability and functionality of your backend services.

Trello: For project management and organization, Trello is highly recommended. Its intuitive interface and versatile features make it ideal for tracking tasks, managing projects, and collaborating with team members. Whether you’re monitoring individual tickets or overall project progress, Trello provides a centralized platform to streamline project management efforts.

Incorporating these tools into your workflow can greatly enhance efficiency, collaboration, and the overall quality of your projects.

10.) What advice would you give to someone starting their career at DrakkenTech or any similar job, based on your own experiences?

Be Confident in Your Ideas: Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and ideas, even if they seem unconventional. Contributing to discussions demonstrates initiative and can lead to valuable insights and innovations within the team.

Continuous Skill Development: While your work provides learning opportunities, don’t limit skill development to work hours. Explore new technologies, languages, or frameworks in your spare time. Engage in side projects, online courses, or contribute to open-source projects to stay ahead in your field.

11.) As you transition into this new role, what are you looking forward to now that you’re becoming a mid-level developer?

Transitioning into a mid-level developer role marks an exciting milestone in my career journey. I’m eager to understand how this change will reshape my contributions to future projects and take on more complex tasks. While I anticipate new challenges and a heavier workload, I see them as opportunities for personal and professional growth. I approach this new chapter with enthusiasm and readiness to tackle whatever comes my way, confident that it will contribute to the continued success of the team and our projects.

12.) What are your thoughts on AI and how do you think it’s going to impact our field? And does that scare you as a developer?

As a developer, I see AI as a potent tool that will impact our field positively and bring challenges. While AI can automate some coding tasks, human developers offer creativity and problem-solving skills that AI lacks.

I’m not overly concerned about AI replacing developers entirely. While AI can generate code, developers bring essential skills like critical thinking and problem-solving that AI currently cannot replicate.

Developers should embrace AI as a complementary tool. While it may automate certain tasks, human skills like creativity and understanding business requirements remain crucial in software development.

13.) What strategies for self-improvement would you recommend to others or use yourself?

I recommend utilizing platforms like Free CodeCamp and HackerRank to maintain and improve skills not used daily. They offer opportunities to learn new concepts or refresh forgotten ones. Additionally, participating in Stack Overflow by answering questions can reinforce knowledge and enhance problem-solving abilities.

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