Shining light into a bat cave of creativity
Name: Luke Dobson
Role: Senior Software Developer
Coffee: Latte, I tend to prefer the Columbian beans but I’m not a connoisseur, I will happily drink instant coffee too!
Anyone who doubts whether software developers are creatively minded should take a look around Luke Dobson’s study.
Bipsync colleagues get treated to a daily eyeful on Zoom, with just some of his extraordinary sculptures and artwork on view – all made using metalwork skills and his trusty 3D printer.
“Yes I’d say I’m a creative person who loves making stuff. I do metalwork and have made just about everything from ornate flowers and giant insects to knives. On video calls, the thing people notice straight away is the large dragonfly on the wall behind me. There are spiders too but none of them are visible as Charl (VP of People Operations) is terrified of spiders and I’m not mean enough to have them in my background! I love making stuff as my job is so ethereal, it’s nice to make something that I can actually hold.”
Solid as a rock
Luke and his ‘metal menagerie’ are situated in South Wales, close to Bipsync’s development base in Cardiff.
He’s one of the most experienced developers in the business, having started out in 1997 after graduating with a Computer Science degree from Nottingham University where he briefly served as treasurer and vice president of the Rock Music Society. So does his fondness for ‘heavy metal’ extend to musical tastes as well?
“Ha – I am something of a goth. I wear black, I avoid the sun, I sleep upside down like a bat (well, according to the team anyway). It’s become a long running in-joke and fountain of funny memes, but it’s all given and taken in the right spirit. Bat emojis frequently appear whenever I announce something on Slack for instance!”
Passing it on
With 25+ years software experience under his belt, Luke has worked in a variety of roles including DevOps, IT management and software development management. He joined Bipsync in 2019 to get back to what he really enjoys – actually writing software.
“My area is primarily in the back-end systems. I describe my job along the lines of ‘spending most of my time making critical components you didn’t know existed, work with other critical components you didn’t know existed’. Day to day I work with the rest of the Platform & Integrations team to prioritize adding features, fixing bugs and maintaining software; keeping things up to date and so on. Looking ahead we also keep our eye on new technologies and have a play with the interesting ones when we get a chance.”
Taking a long view back over that past quarter century in software – and forward to what the future has in store – is it a rewarding career to have chosen?
“Yes definitely, and I’ve still got plenty of miles left on the clock to go yet! I have an 18-year old daughter who’s following me into computer science, mainly because she wants to build robots. I’ve found it a fantastic creative outlet and hope she does too. She’s considering applying to do a student placement at Bipsync, so if we need a Bipsyncbot in years to come I know who to call…
A culture to be proud of
Luke enjoys working at Bipsync, getting huge satisfaction when something he’s worked on gets released and hearing positive feedback from customers: “It’s a real buzz and reinforces that I’m contributing to the company as a whole. I’ve also done some important proof of concept work in the last few years so hopefully I’ll continue to be trusted to do more of those, getting involved in the design and architecture, and helping drive our product forwards not just with cool features but also with cool underlying technologies.”
Luke is also a big fan of the company culture, which stands Bipsync apart from other software-led businesses he’s worked at in the past: “The Bipsync culture is the perfect mixture of hard work, drive, attention to detail and ability to have fun. It’s flexible when life gets in the way and so I have no problem being flexible back. I’ve done plenty of evenings and weekends and logged on at weird times to check or finish something off because I know when it’s the other way around I can bail out and attend to my family at short notice if I need to.
I feel very proud of the quality of what we produce and we manage to have fun doing it!”