Craig, an Analyst Developer gives us an insight into the work of his team, along with the opportunities available at Hastings Direct
Tell us about your career journey and what led you to Hastings
I was never really sure what career path I wanted to follow - being a software developer was an early aspiration but I took a small detour along the way! Originally, I completed an apprenticeship and worked as a vehicle technician for a franchised car dealership. I love understanding how things work and the problem solving nature of diagnosing and fixing faults. Outside of my work hours, my passion for programming was reignited by teaching myself to program in Java. I left the garage for a technical help desk role where I could practice programming and started developing small applications. I saw an opportunity to join Hastings Direct; I’d heard first hand that Hastings were a good company to work for and the position looked like a great fit for me to continue my development. It was clear at the interview that Hastings offer lots of perks and there would be plenty of opportunities to progress. It’s no surprise you meet so many people who have been with the company for years!
Tell us about your development journey so far
My first role was as a Product Development Assistant in the Underwriting Services department. I was shadowing colleagues and having handovers in my first week so I could hit the ground running. I was also given time to learn Python on the job so I could pick up some application maintenance and development work. I then spent just over two years in Underwriting, becoming more proficient by learning on the job and attending some more formal training. One course I attended was led by a Data Services Solution Architect from the IT Delivery Department; he was so enthusiastic about his work and this encouraged me to apply to be a part of the IT Delivery team as an Analyst Developer.
What does your team do?
As a team we are all working towards the company goal of being the best and biggest digital insurance provider. We operate using the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) to deliver incremental change to our suite of insurance software packages. Day-to-day work can involve: small configuration changes, larger scale feature analysis, or more complex integration changes with other internal or external systems. There’s a real focus on delivering quality, a drive to reduce technical debt and an agenda to improve automated test coverage. We’re a really busy department so there’s always plenty to get stuck in to!
What do you enjoy about your role and life at Hastings?
I love the challenge and problem solving nature of my role. But also I enjoy collaborating with other developers to contribute towards delivering quality software solutions. The benefits that these solutions will bring for our colleagues and customers is well communicated, so there’s a real a sense of achievement when they go live.
The great thing about life at Hastings is the 4Cs philosophy which starts with Colleagues. There’s a culture that encourages mentoring, which, combined with the host of talent within the business means there are no restrictions on your growth.
What advice would you give to someone looking to develop their career with us?
I’ve worked for a few companies and despite the slightly unconventional path I took to get here, Hastings gave me an opportunity because they are prepared to invest in people. Joining IT Delivery turbo-charged my personal development – the peer review process naturally promotes better code quality and the developer forums and informal team meetings provide regular knowledge transfers and alignment on best practices. It’s fast-paced, fun and full of great people, so I think it’s a great place to come and develop your career!
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