Interview with our Software Engineering placement student Sam Davies

The company has grown so much over the last 20 years that in 2014 Pear Technology was able to offer a student work placement. This came in the form of Sam Davies, a Software Engineering student from Portsmouth University; who provided us with extra brain power for new program developments. Read his interview below:

Q. So Sam, what made you decide you would like to apply to take a placement year working at Pear Technology?

A. I wanted to try something new. I’d never worked with anything to do with mapping before and I found this really interesting – it would be cool to work with maps. I also knew that digital mapping would have a visual element instead of the number crunching I had been doing – so this was particularly appealing to me.

Q. Tell us a bit about the work you have done at Pear?

A. I’ve been working on a new software product. It’s exciting seeing it progress so quickly and working out the best way for it to evolve. It brings in visual graphics which is really good fun. I enjoy taking the product from a shell and making it become functional in the best possible way for our customers. I’ve also been heavily involved in finishing off the new website and filling in the gaps to make sure all the content is up there. I am sure that this will go some way to help people who are interested in our products and services. You can’t just chuck it all up there-you have to think about what the customers want to have access to – so it is exciting.

Q. Tell us about your experience working for Pear from your first day to now?

A. Of course it was daunting on my first day! Before I started I wasn’t exactly sure what Pear Technology did – but I know pretty much what Pear is and does now. I initially felt nervous changing my colleagues programming codes. Taking more things on I’ve grown in confidence and now I am fully incorporated within the team. As my knowledge of the business improved it became much easier to communicate, contribute in meetings and manage my projects as well as other people. Everyone has been so helpful. I started with one project, but now I have three which can be a bit of a challenge as you can’t dedicate all of your time to all of the projects, at once. I think I’m spreading my time well across all three of them but we’ll see!

Q. What has been your most challenging task so far?

A. I’d say it’s just not being afraid. It’s important to ask as many questions as you need to really fine tune what is wanted and to be forthcoming enough to propose new ideas. Everyone at Pear is extremely supportive and encouraging – so I quickly learnt it was fine to be brave. Also the website- it is challenging producing something which satisfies the business requirements as well as the customer’s requirement. Someone going onto the website might want to find a certain piece of information, but at the same time we have to present what we do, make sure it’s all easy to read and very accessible as well as being simple to understand. It’s just sitting back and prioritising what is most important which is often quite challenging. I am proud of what we’ve achieved so far.

Q. What are the most important things you have learnt whilst working for the company?

A. I’ve learnt that I’m hard working and dedicated. I put in the extra hours and sometimes even weekends to get things done, so I’m quite tenacious. But on the flip side of that, I’ve also learnt it’s important to know when to take breaks. Sometimes it’s better to put something down and come back to it refocused. Being my first time in a proper company I’ve learnt a lot about how a business operates and how important communication is.

….I suppose I’m not that bad at programming (he giggles). It’s definitely given me more confidence to approach software tasks. I now know that this is something I want to continue to do.

Q. What have you enjoyed the most about Pear Technology?

A. Finally being able to take all the knowledge I’ve been learning at University doing a project for Pear has certainly been satisfying for me. I’d also certainly say the friendliness of everyone, and how easy it is to just turn around and ask somebody for their opinion. I think that that’s what you sometimes lose in a bigger company. We have also had some great days out and there is fun banter within the office which makes it a light atmosphere to come into every day. I really enjoy working at Pear.

Update 2016: Sam is now just about to finish his University degree and has successfully utilized his skills learnt with us by linking his final year project with Pear Technology development. Well done Sam!