Blog 53

We've recently announced that we've promoted two of our existing team members to Technical Directors - Web & Infrastructure and Mobile. We've very excited about them taking on the senior management roles and wanted to introduce them properly.

Here's our blog about Bav Patel, Technical Director - Web & Infrastructure.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I'm from the home of the UK's first ever KFC, Preston. I've worked at a number of establishments, participated in 2 Tough Mudders, run a marathon (badly), climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (not badly) and enjoy far too many superhero films and TV shows.

As a teenage gamer, I think it was natural to be interested in technology and computers. And before long, I was having a go at programming before I understood what any of it was or how it worked. During college, I made my first website, 'bavland.co.uk', you can still find it if you look hard enough.

I was working for an agency in Leeds when I decided I wanted to move to Manchester, and I joined a company called Elevator, interviewed by my mentor, Rob Walter (now Engineering Director at Sharp Gaming). Years later, he re-interviewed me at Degree 53 for a full stack developer role, and the rest is as they say is history!

How long have you been with Degree 53 and what’s your experience been like?

I've been with Degree 53 for just over six years now, and I've really seen it evolve over the years. And more importantly, seen a huge amount of talent walk through the doors. The work has always been varied and kept my interest, and I hope it stays that way. Our Discovery sessions are great, sometimes they take time, but they allow us to flesh out an idea for potential clients without the client having to commit to a project. Everyone's a winner!

What are your responsibilities as a director?

One of the biggest responsibilities I have is ensuring I understand the requirements of the client which in turn helps me to advise on the best solutions for the client. I also give a little direction to members of the team and help out with any difficult decisions. Also, I'll avoid it where I can, but I might even have something to say about naming variables.

What will be your main focus from now on?

Delivering our current projects successfully is my highest priority, and if our developers are also enjoying working on the projects, then we're doing it right!

What are you most looking forward to in this role?

A number of things. I already had a good understanding of the company, having worked here for so long, but I'm looking forward to finding out more!

What are the strengths of the Degree 53 web offering?

We have a brilliant team, each with their own strengths and offerings. It's hard to explain, but between us, we have a huge understanding of the web and what is and isn't possible (easily). We've also built up a library of solutions that are designed to be very flexible and extensible from Progressive Web Apps to fully featured Umbraco CMS solutions. All this means we can design and deliver solutions very efficiently.

How does the web development team at Degree 53 adapt to new web technologies?

Good question. It depends on a number of factors, including customer requirements, what's trending, what works, cost and good old fashioned experience. New projects give us a lot of opportunities to try new technologies out, which is great, and builds up new technology experience within the team. I prefer to err on the side of caution when using the latest version of a framework or library, but I also want to jump onto the latest shiny thing, as do most developers.

What do you enjoy the most about working at Degree 53?

The people. Nothing has changed since I started six years ago. The people have made it thoroughly enjoyable to work at, and I love learning new things from them. I remember meeting Pete on a first work night out and branding him a triple threat because he programmed for Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices! It's certainly been different working from home during the pandemic, and I've been massively impressed by how everyone adapted to it, but I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in real life and the occasional drink after work!

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt while working in the tech industry?

It's funny actually, technology changes a lot, but most requirements are often the same. I've built a lot of login pages in my career. Be open to new technologies and ideas from anyone and everyone.

What are your hobbies?

As much as I love tech, sometimes you have to get away from it. I love walks in both the Peak and Lake Districts, and I was lucky enough to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in February this year, just before lockdown. During lockdown, I've been working on a massive jigsaw and completed God of War on my PS4. I think they're my hobbies now.

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