Senior Developer Andy Burson

Meet the Team – Andy, Senior Developer

At Zeevo, we’re a busy software company with a wide range of clients and products and our team has been hand-picked to provide solutions for all of them. Given that Software Developers play the central role in companies like ours, it made sense for our first Meet The Team article to focus on Senior Developer Andy for the inside scoop on coding, software development, and the advantages of living and working in Christchurch.

Born and raised in the North Island, Andy spent a couple of years at Broadcasting School in Christchurch before moving to Auckland for 12 years. Keen on DIY, gardening, music, and spending time with his kids, Andy found moving back to Christchurch to work for a local business has meant a major change in work-life balance - “You seem to have so much more time at your disposal when you can be home from work 15 minutes after you walk out the door”, compared to the hours-long commutes that many people face in Auckland.

Andy has been coding for 16 years, starting out making his own databases with custom front ends for managing various office tasks before moving formally into software development. His early work focused mostly on the back end of cloud apps – coding and troubleshooting what happens when software users click a button or submit a form. In his 8 years at Zeevo those technical and practical skills have continued to be a valuable part of his day-to-day work. As the number of different products and platforms have expanded Andy spends the majority of his time developing FormTab and working on custom software apps for our clients.

From the outside it’s easy to imagine software development as something like manufacturing or construction – you start with an idea, design the architecture, collect the required materials, and bolt them all together into a finished product. In manufacturing and construction there are often common designs that have been previously implemented, and any customisation is built on already-proven principles. But when you talk to a coder, you often find that completing a big project often involves designing an all-new solution from scratch – often with all-new principles and architecture – and starts with a series of small problems that need to be solved; sometimes in isolation, or sometimes in a tangle of interlocking parts.

Like most experienced developers, Andy finds solving these problems to be one of the great parts of the job - “Coming up with a solution for that frustrating problem or solving that issue that has been bugging you is really rewarding: you may start out questioning whether you’ll be able to solve a particular problem, and when you succeed that’s where you get a lot of satisfaction”. It’s the consistent ability to tackle these challenges that enables a skilled coder to deliver quality finished products for our clients.

We asked Andy if he had any advice for clients, and the big one is: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! “If you’re getting a lot of jargon or levels of technicality, don’t be afraid to ask for it to be put into language that you can understand... you don’t have to understand every piece of what we do, but you need a good understanding of what’s going on so you can make informed decisions throughout the process.”

For those starting out as developers, or thinking of moving into coding as a profession, Andy’s key advice is similarly about communication and a focus on the product you’re delivering to your client: “Concentrate on how the client will be using the feature you are developing – it’s quite easy to get focused in on your technical problem and what you have to do to solve it. But you have to keep the user front of mind - it doesn’t matter how hard you’ve had to work to solve a technical problem, the solution needs to be intuitive, functional and visually appealing.”

Eight years is a long time in tech, and when we asked Andy about his time at Zeevo he emphasised the appeals of working for a local company in an accessible city: the ability to work sociable hours, to balance work and home life, and a varied workload that never gets dull, from working on custom projects for outside clients to developing our own FormTab Product. We’re delighted to have him as part of the team and we’ve enjoyed this chance to share his wisdom with you.

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