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National Programmers Day 2022

If software is done well, most people would never know all the work that goes on behind the scenes. That’s why September 13th 2022 is National Programmers Day – to celebrate the people behind programming advances.

Everyday, computer technology connects us across the globe and keeps our digital world turning. From banking and commerce, to news, arts and entertainment – even a simple video call. All of it is down to the work of skilled programmers who design, code and debug software for us to use. At Exa, we’re thankful to have our own team of developers. They’ve built our SurfProtect® Quantum and Quantum+ tools to help schools with their content filtering. We asked some of our Research and Development team about their careers in programming.
national programmers day

How did you get into programming and development?

“I heard about people “being able to program computers” as a child, and the idea stuck with me. Some googling eventually led me to try Visual Basic 6 on the library computers in secondary school.”

“My older brother would often come into my room and do some web development whilst I was playing games, and show me the things he was working on. That was what first sparked my interest in the field.”

“I picked the subject at GCSE and had a great time, so I also picked it at A level with my other subjects. At some point I realised that computer science was the subject that I enjoyed most and wanted to do for work.”

A lot of people from different backgrounds want to learn programming, but don’t know which course to choose. Which qualifications do you have?

“I went through GCSE and A-Level Computing, followed by a BSc in Computer Science at the University of Bradford. I think it’s important people know that formal computer science qualifications aren’t everything, though, as I’ve learned a lot more from years of exploring tech than from formal study.”

“Actually very few. I did A levels in Maths and Computing, but mostly taught myself programming. I even tried a degree but it doesn’t compare to real world workplace experience, like I have with Exa."

“The most useful information I’ve learnt about computer science has been at Exa. But I also have a GCSE in Maths, a GCSE in Computer Science, an A-level in Computer Science, and I’m studying for my degree in Computer Science.”

What’s the best thing about your career?

“The engineering process - finding and implementing the simplest solution for a potentially complex set of requirements.”

“It depends on what I’m developing. Generally speaking, it’s the satisfaction when everything works exactly how you want, but my personal favourite thing is doing web development, and having someone describe what they want then seeing what you make, and that reaction of “Yes, that looks perfect!”

“For me, it’s fixing issues. Who doesn’t like fixing issues? Finding a problem and fixing it for someone is great!”

Which coding languages do you use most often?

“Go - or Golang, Python, TypeScript, and SQL.”

“HTML and CSS for web development, as well as Javascript. Usually we use Python here at Exa, but we’re introducing Go too. I also have PHP and SQL experience.”

“Python, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, SQL.”

Which is your favourite coding language and why?

“Go, for its simplicity and how satisfying its concurrency model is to work with.”

“Probably Python for its familiarity, I’ve used it since I was doing my GCSEs.”

“Python, you never forget your first experience with coding.”

Have you worked on anything at Exa that you’re really proud of?

“I’m quite proud of the work I put towards our continuous integration/quality assurance processes.”

“Our new System Access service which helps our ISO27001 efforts. It’s the first project I’ve built from absolute scratch and I’m very happy with its positive reception.”

“I’ve only made one system, but I am pretty happy with how the Router Configurator turned out.”

What advice would you give to someone starting out in programming?

“Find a project and work on it incrementally. It doesn’t have to be anything clever or fancy to begin with - that can come later. There’s a menagerie of things that are adjacent to “writing code” that you’ll benefit from knowing about, so read as much as you can and don’t be afraid to explore!”

“Like many things in life, the hardest part of learning to code is getting started. I personally learned through online resources, such as codecademy, which teach you the very basics. After you have the basics nailed, come up with a project (or try to replicate something that already exists) and stick with it as best you can.”

“Find out what you like about programming. If you're not enjoying it then move around, there is a lot to do and try in the world of computer science. Personally, I really like the automation and fixing stuff side of computer science, so what are your favourite parts?”

Our team comes from a range of backgrounds with a wealth of experience, and we’re eager to develop the next generation of tech professionals. That’s why The Exa Foundation works with schools to promote digital skills and further understanding of information technology.

The Exa Foundation is hosting a Careers in Technology event for schools and college groups in October. The event aims to dispel some myths about people working in tech by sharing real career and study experiences. If you’d like to know more about the events, or would like to book, please visit the The Exa Foundation

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