Max Roderick-Smith

ChemAlert Develop Team Lead

Career Progression

I knew in high school that I wanted to do software development.  I went to university to study computer science, and got a role as a graduate developer at RMT straight out of uni. With software development, as you progress in seniority there is more responsibility and you will tackle more complex parts of the program. But everyone in the team works in all areas of the code, so even starting out you get that exposure.

I’ve been here around five years now, and recently was made Team Lead for the ChemAlert Development team reporting to our Development Manager who continues to mentor me, heading up a team of developers working on ChemAlert. In terms of career, it’s pretty close to where I want to be. It’s a big role with a lot of responsibilities and I still get to write code, so I’m happy to be where I am at right now.

A Typical Day

We’ve got a system we use internally to structure all of our development work, from enhancements to issues and I allocate them out and monitor their completion. I also enjoy working on dev tasks myself.

I’m the point of contact for the ChemAlert team, so I answer a lot of questions from other developers, help the internal testing team and our internal applications support team who are working with clients. So even though I am overseeing five developers, I’m actually working every day with a large group of different people.

As the Team Lead, tech stack improvements and major changes to ChemAlert are often vetted by myself. I’m responsible for working with the ChemAlert Product Owner filtering and validating the ideas for enhancement that come from clients, internal teams, and working out what’s most important to put into the application.

Skills For Getting The Job Done

You obviously need good software skills, and you need to keep developing them.

I believe that tech is one of those things where you don’t know how much you know, until you realise how much you don’t know. So you need to be open to constant learning, sharing ideas, taking on feedback, and being curious to learn more about how things work.

Time management is essential, as there are a lot of people needing different things and there are always various deadlines, so I need to keep things balanced.

Plus you need good communication skills. I’m a quiet and technically-minded person, so I’ve had to learn how to relay things in a non-technical manner, and also make sure the team is communicating and bouncing ideas off each other to keep developing our technical knowledge.

What Do You Love About The Job?

Apart from table tennis at lunchtime? I just love software development, the work of sitting down, writing code and figuring things out. The facilities and people at RMT make it easy and enjoyable for me to do my job well.

It’s what I always wanted to do, and now I’m out there doing it, it’s pretty close to be everything I imagined it would be.