Spotlight – Fawad Ali

Software Engineer at BJSS

Background…

Software Engineer, Fawad, talks about being inspired by video games, working on projects that make a difference during Covid, and the importance of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

I was, and still am, really into console gaming – what I originally wanted to do was develop games for a living. I studied software engineering at university, but then I realised that video game development is difficult and doesn’t pay that well! So, after I graduated, I worked on a series of software development roles for Ford, BBC, and Sky. But I was starting to get a bit too comfortable. I felt like I needed a change, to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I saw an opportunity at BJSS, applied, and not long after that I joined as a Software Engineer.

Working at BJSS

As a Software Engineer at BJSS, I focus on projects that require front-end work, working mainly with Javascript and technologies like React. A lot of the time, I’m just cracking on with coding – getting the requirements from the client and plugging away at them. I like solving puzzles, and software engineering is kind of like a puzzle. When you’re coding, you’ve got a problem and you have to find a way to solve it. I really enjoy that aspect of it.

Reducing Emergency Department Overcrowding and Waiting Times

The most memorable project I worked on recently was the Emergency Department Digital Integration (EDDI) system. EDDI gives NHS 111 staff an interface into emergency departments and lets them give patients a specific ED arrival time based on their need.

I worked on the front-end, writing code for the interface that EDDI end-users access. A lot of what I contributed was around login and authentication, as well as admin features like being able to add new A&E departments to the system and generating reports on capacity numbers.

It was a challenging project because the deadlines were very tight. We didn’t have long to get the system up and running, so we had to get stuck in. But the team at BJSS did an amazing job planning the whole project, and we managed to get something working and delivering results quickly.

It felt good to be doing something that was helping people, especially at a time during the pandemic when the NHS was massively stretched.

What do you like about BJSS?

For years, I was having to change jobs to be pushed out of my comfort zone. But, at BJSS, when a project finishes, I move onto something new, working with totally different technologies, sometimes in an industry I haven’t worked on before. And when I’ve had to pick things up from scratch, there’s always been support readily available. My line manager has been really helpful on that front, pointing me towards resources to help me learn.

There are plenty of opportunities to develop at BJSS. For example, I was made a Tech Lead on a recent project, so I oversaw 10 or 12 developers and testers, putting all the ways of working in place and being responsible for quality. Having done it now, I think I’d prefer to focus on code, but it was the first time I’d ever done something like that. It pushed me to grow as a person, which was great.

Having worked for big organisations in the past, you often feel like you get lost, like you’re just a cog in a machine. BJSS is really good at recognising you for the work you deliver. You feel valued, like you’ve made a meaningful contribution to your projects and to BJSS as a whole.