Daniel Michels, Software Developer bei Polyas im Interview

We spoke to Daniel Michels about what a typical day in the life of a software developer looks like at POLYAS. He spoke about what makes his job so satisfying, why he enjoys it and why he thinks people should apply to develop POLYAS further. Read about what being a POLYAS software developer is like!

Hi Daniel, thank your for your time! What does a typical day look like for you?

Right, so a “typical day” isn’t really a thing that I have experienced. I rarely know exactly what I will be doing from one week to the next. I think that helps to keep it so exciting from a day to day basis.

What I always do is get a coffee and check my email. Then, depending on the project, I talk with my colleagues with whom I am working with. Afterward, I mostly look into our ticket system in order to gain an overview of what is going on on other projects and what still has to be done. It is always something different, sometimes a request for a completely new feature, or a request for support with a specific election.

Now and again we have to wait for a system or need to organise something in particular. Every three weeks we have a set appointment, which we name our sprint planning, and look ahead what we have planned for the next month. We also have a daily scrum, where we quickly catch up on what other people have been developing or working on.

What tasks does a software developer have at POLYAS?

They range from the development of new features and functions to the support of the sales team, direct support of some clients, the administration of backend systems, and of course, the optimisation of existing features in our election configurator. Our tasks are extremely varied and change quite often, but this is how I get better and better at my job.

What do you find particularly attractive about your job?

Firstly, it’s not a normal office job. I don’t just sit at a computer and work on various tickets. I am fully involved in the product development stages from the very beginning. This includes the original discussions as to which features or functions need to be developed, and what challenges that we are likely to face when programming the final feature.

It is also cool that our system is not dependent on one massive piece of software, but is modular with many smaller micro-services. That means I have the chance to try out new things – for example, I can say for a particular feature “let’s test a new framework out and see how it works.” If it doesn’t work so well then it is a simple task to revert to an older framework without losing anything of importance, or indeed investing a huge amount of time when implementing new aspects.

Of course, my colleagues are great. We have a very relaxed office atmosphere, even if there is a lot of stress. My coworkers don’t get easily irritated or lose their sense of humour and this really makes a difference.

What was the most interesting feature or project that you have worked on?

Well, that is not really so easy to answer. I think probably something that gets used by clients frequently, like the SecureLink connection, which I wrote by the way.

The most interesting so far was definitely the development of our live voting product. That was an awesome challenge because it all happened so quickly. We began the planning in October and the product had to be finished by May. We hit all of our deadlines and now we have another really cool feature available. That was really cool feeling. 

What characteristics should a new colleague definitely have?

Well, that is somewhat of an over-simplification. I do think having fun with new technology and trying out things is important. Also what is really important is to question things and not to just blindly follow orders. The question “should that really be like that, and is there any way of doing it differently” is an important question that any new colleague should be asking. It’s an old quality to look for, but humour is a characteristic that we definitely look for, as we do get along well and happily make fun of ourselves.

Naturally, the technical side is a given – we all have the technical knowledge and experience. Java is a must. Java and Scala would be great, but anyone who can work well with Java can get to grips with Scala quickly. Aside from that, it would be good if they had experience with container systems (ideally Docker or Rancher).

What do you think, why should a software developer apply to POLYAS?

Right, okay so if you want to work on developing an innovative product, work with the latest technologies and don’t want to be stuck at home or in a boring soulless office running tests on an old product and on an outdated system, then you should definitely come and apply to our team!

Thanks, Daniel!

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