In the first of our new blog series ‘Purple People’ featuring Purple Crane staff members, we prised one of our software developers, Ben, away from his screen for long enough to get some real insight into what it’s like to be a Purple Person.
Full name: Ben Magistris
Job title: Software Developer
Q. What does your role involve, Ben? What are the key things you do for clients day to day?
A. Basically, I build solutions from scratch. I help to refine or even help clients hone in or come to a concrete solution from any ‘vague’ requirements they might have at the outset of a project. I also add new features to existing products. One of the most important roles, I think, is to provide support by answering clients’ questions about a system, debugging and fixing problems. Clients can sometimes become anxious when they are troubled by something not working from a technical viewpoint, so I aim to reassure and fix. I also research new technologies and apply them to help expand the kinds of systems we can offer or improve upon existing work.
Q. What do you consider to be your work-related strengths (technical or otherwise)? Just the top two or three would be great.
A. My eye for detail I guess, although I’m not a designer, I can understand why certain choices are made when it comes to the UI (User Interface) and do my best to make sure the presentation is just as good as the underlying functionality. I also look to empathise with the client, taking time to consider how the user interacts with the system and to try and make it as effortless as possible for them.
Q. Are there any technologies or approaches that you particularly enjoy working with? Any techie groups you belong to or projects you’re involved with or meet-ups you attend regularly?
Q. Are there any work-specific challenges that you particularly enjoy? i.e what gives you a buzz?
A. Problem solving and seeing my work out in the open – knowing users like my creations.
Q. What was your last role prior to joining Purple Crane? What key skills, experience and insight did it give you that are relevant to your role today? (If there were additional roles that you feel are particularly significant in relation to your current work, please add them too.)
A. Prior to Purple Crane I was at University and prior to that I worked at Peter Jones for 2 years. It was the Nursery department and at the age of 16/17 I had to adapt to talking to prospective / new parents who needed to see that I was confident and knew my stuff – especially when it came to safety equipment like car seats.
Q. How long have you been in the sector, what was your first role, and what initially attracted you to this line of work?
A. Automation – being able to press a button and then take a seat while the computer does everything else! Being able to have a thought and put it into practice; like a mechanical engineer, but you control the physics as well.
Q. What relevant qualifications do you have?
A. BEng in Computing from Imperial and A-levels in Maths and Physics.
Q. Any interests or hobbies outside of work that you’d be happy to share?
A. Cycling, mostly – I’ve done the Lands End to John o’ Groats route. Hiking – I often walk up the mountains in the north of Italy with my Dad when I visit. I also like swimming, snowboarding and skateboarding, so very active!
Q. And one last one… What do you value about your colleagues?
A. Matthew: Remembers everything, breadth of knowledge, learnt a lot from him – come to find out about more technology and news in our field. Andy: Eye for detail; Always striving for the best for the clients. Strives to produce the best work possible, despite short time frames where there is a sense of ‘quick and dirty’. Chris: Aware of limitations of the systems and always researching into new ways to improve them. Patient and takes the time to help people.