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Meet our DevOps Engineer, Christy

What is DevOps? GitLab best explains it as people working together to conceive, build and deliver secure software at top speed. DevOps practices enable software developers (devs) and operations (ops) teams to accelerate delivery through automation, collaboration, fast feedback, and iterative improvement.

Published in April 2022

In June 2021, we welcomed Christy to the FPP team. She dived straight in and has become our tech guru for anything infrastructure-related. We wanted to delve further into how she found herself working in the technology sector.

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Where in the UK are you based and what do you do, day-to-day?

I live in Cardiff so I’m based in our Bristol office, and the work I do day-to-day varies a lot. I work as part of FocalPoint’s engineering team to design, build and maintain robust and secure infrastructure, manage our internal tooling, and support teams to build, test and deploy their code smoothly via CI (continuous integration) pipelines. The company is growing quickly, so the next year or so will be largely devoted to scaling our infrastructure, improving our telemetry, and automating as many of the repetitive tasks which slow developers down as possible.

What product are you most excited about benefiting from precise accuracy and why?
I’ve experienced the frustrations of trying to use location services in built-up areas, so I’m excited at the prospect of our products going into phones so that positioning just works in these environments. I’m also very excited about the way in which FocalPoint's products achieve enhanced accuracy, as the algorithms our teams develop can be implemented in a way that is less resource intensive than other solutions. The benefit of this to an individual is that their battery won’t drain as quickly while they’re actively using location services. The number of devices which could benefit from our technology currently stands at well over a billion, so the energy saving potential at that scale is something to celebrate.

Any cool apps you’re using at the moment?

I got a library card during the first lockdown as I discovered they have content available through an app and I was really impressed. I’ve tried out a few hobbies since I started to work from home, most of which are long abandoned, but I found it very useful for all of them. The app I always seem to go back to is a game called TerraGenesis, a planet terraforming simulator. It’s easy to jump in and out of and has plenty of game modes and planets available so it can be as challenging or straightforward as you want.

What book, podcast or tv series do you have on the go?

I recently bought the first few books of The Expanse series. The TV series is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen so I’m excited to get stuck in.

What was it like joining a team amidst a national health pandemic?

I’m lucky to work in a field where a laptop and internet connection are the only real essentials so I’ve welcomed the recognition that remote working can suit organisations and employees beyond serving as a pandemic measure. I like to spend a few days each month in the office and FocalPoint has been fully supportive of that working arrangement. Everything was fully remote when I joined and I was impressed with the onboarding process, equipment arrived in time to get started straight away, and there were plenty of opportunities to meet the teams virtually.

What do you like most about your job as DevOps Engineer?

My role is quite broad, which works perfectly for me as I’m happiest when there’s an interesting problem to solve.

What made you choose your current technical career path?

My background is in security but an opportunity came up at a previous employer to move into a CI infrastructure team so I took the chance to get some more hands-on engineering experience. When I was ready to move on I was leaning towards transitioning back to a security role, but FocalPoint offered me the freedom to shape the infrastructure/Dev(Sec)Ops function and build the future capability so it was a fantastic opportunity to get the best of both worlds and gain new skills on top.

Have you come across boundaries to tech?

I think that the tech sector is making some progress when it comes to encouraging women and other underrepresented groups to join the industry, but it’s important to recognise that there is a long way to go and that other STEM fields have achieved significantly more when it comes to closing the gender gap. I’m an advocate for strengthening non-academic routes into the field. I joined the industry through an apprenticeship and believe that investing in potential is a great way for organisations to break down the educational and socioeconomic barriers that keep a lot of talented people out of technical roles.

Why did you want to work in tech?

I’ve always been interested in how things work and what happens when they go wrong, and every time a major data breach or security incident made it into the news I would read up on it as much as I could. Like a lot of people, I basically picked my career out of a hat at the age of 18 and assumed I’d never have to think about it again, but after a decade in optics I decided to take a chance and applied to be an apprentice software developer. I managed to talk my way into switching to a junior role in a security team a few months later, and I’m lucky they were so welcoming as that decision laid the foundation for my career.

Quick fire

Age: 33
Android or IOS? Whichever takes the best cat pictures around the time I need a new phone
Three words that describe you: Terrible timekeeper, allegedly
Dream job: Something at an animal sanctuary. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a professional animal attention-giver, but I expect I’d be excellent at it.
Hobbies: Since the beginning of the pandemic I have gone through hobbies at a shocking rate, which I’m sure my neighbours are thankful for as my latest one is learning to play the violin.

If you’re interested in a career in tech, why not take a look at our jobs board?