This month we are interviewing one of our specialist Java developers: Megan Artemova-Thomas.

So Megan, for the record, when did you join Exploding Phone and what were you doing before?
I joined the company in 2017. Prior to working for Exploding Phone I was researching IT Security issues with a specific focus on the potential risks relating to the ‘Internet of Things’. And before that I worked on an iOS and Android app for a Credentials Management project.

What sort of skills and deliverables does your role entail?
As you’d expect a big part of my job is Java coding however I also get involved in developing back-end, so working on the Content Management System for the app, defining, building and testing databases and creating API’s as required. And testing is a key part of my job. I’m constantly working on more comprehensive methods of stress testing apps before they go back to the customer for review. Looking at softer skills my role involves both Project Management and being able to communicate with clients.

What software development environments and languages do you mainly use?
The usual I guess! Android Studio and PHPStorm. I sometimes use MySQL Workbench for the database work.

Tell me about the most complex project on which you have worked at Exploding Phone?
I’m currently working on a large project to develop a data capture platform for the Care sector. However while the project is huge, the requirements are relatively straightforward to interpret and deliver. On the other hand I recently developed a relatively small app for interfacing with a vehicle tyre pressure monitoring system. This required working on some relatively low-level Bluetooth communication code, almost down to the bits and bytes level. And the testing process was quite unusual as well. People must have wondered why I spent so much time messing around with car wheels!

How do you feel you have developed professionally since joining Exploding Phone?
A lot! As I mentioned, while I had some app development experience before joining I was more involved in working in security. But after four years of working on a wide range of Android projects I feel I’ve got a pretty solid skill base. That said, there’s always more to learn. It’s also good to have a pretty direct level of contact with the clients. This certainly helps in terms of being able to fully understand and deliver the customer’s requirements.

How would you describe the Exploding Phone as a place to work?
Good, I enjoy the environment. It’s relaxed but professional. There is a healthy respect for work-life balance and I think this helps everyone be more productive.

What motivates you professionally and how does this help you move forward in your career?
I really like problem solving and translates into enjoying my job. I’m not massively career driven if I’m honest, but I do welcome opportunities to learn and broaden the scope of what I do in my job.

What are the key characteristics for someone to be successful in your role?
Lots of thigs really. They would need to be adaptable, be able to learn quickly, be good at problem solving and have a high level of attention to detail. Also, working in a small team you need to be able to communicate effectively, not only with other members of the team but also clients and non-technical people.

What is your favourite memory of working for Exploding Phone?
I’ve particularly enjoyed the big Christmas party event at the NEC that Andrew took us to.

If you could have any other job in the world what would it be?
Oh, that’s an easy one. I love classical singing. Obviously this requires years of training (although I am taking lessons) so not practical for me, but you did say it could be any other job.

How do you expect your job to change over the next three to five years?
It sometimes seems like change is the only constant in the world of app development. But perhaps that’s what makes it so interesting. From an Android developers perspective I expect to move over to increasingly using Kotlin. I also think and perhaps hope that we will be able to see greater flexibility in terms of mixing between working from home and the office.

Thanks for your time today Megan.

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