A young man in a dark jacket standing in a field, smiling at the camera.
Glen Collins. Image: Dun & Bradstreet

What does a typical day look like for a senior software engineer?

11 Nov 2021

Dun & Bradstreet’s Glen Collins talks about the challenge of balancing his time between meetings and coding as a senior software engineer.

We’ve heard from many software engineers and developers over the years, gaining a unique insight into what their days are like. But, as with many areas, taking on a more senior role means more responsibilities and a need to manage new priorities.

Glen Collins is a senior software engineer at Dun & Bradstreet, which provides commercial data, analytics and insights for businesses.

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He has been with the company for more than eight years, having started out in a graduate position in 2013. In his current role, Collins supports the technology team and designs solutions to meet customers’ needs.

‘Learning and upskilling are very important for any software developer’

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

My day starts with my essential item of the day, a cup of tea. Then, once I have made my daily checklist, I usually catch up on any communications from the previous day.

Our daily stand-up starts at 10.30am, which is an opportunity for all team members to discuss their progress and any issues that they may have. After the stand-up, if needed, I spend some time with the team working out any issues they may have and then move on for a solid hour of coding.

Prior to the pandemic, I would break up my day with a game of pool at lunch. However, now that we are working from home, I like to take a walk with my children.

After lunch, my afternoon usually consists of a couple of meetings regarding upcoming features which may require further discussion with architects and/or other teams on potential solutions or dependencies we may have.

To close out my day, I try to finish my open items, code reviews, writing tests, documentation and fixing bugs that may have been found by our quality assurance team.

What types of projects do you work on?

Since joining Dun & Bradstreet, I have worked across several projects ranging from compliance web applications to building scalable, fault-tolerant APIs.

I am consistently looking to improve the performance and stability of these jobs to ensure a great customer experience.

What skills do you use on a daily basis?

My key skills include mentoring our junior members of the team, reviewing code, designing and planning for future features, coding, debugging, pair programming and production support.

What is the hardest part of your working day?

I would say as I have progressed into a more senior role within my team, trying to balance my time between the increased number of Teams meetings and my coding tasks can be difficult at times.

But on the positive side, this allows me to improve my personal organisation skills and by learning to prioritise high-importance items, I can keep on top of things.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?

One thing I like to do is to start the day with a handwritten to-do list. This really helps me focus on the highest priority items. It’s also quite rewarding when you see a complete list done at the end of the day – which is not always the case!

When you first started this job, what were you most surprised to learn was important in the role?

As I joined as a college graduate, I was surprised to learn how much communication and teamwork was required – not just within your own team but also the indirect teams. This collaboration is demonstrated highly within the culture of Dun & Bradstreet. I know I can contact any person within the company and they would be willing to help with any query I may have.

During the pandemic this has become even more apparent as remote working has required the team to adapt. Communication has become even more important than ever and is vital for building solutions that provide an optimal customer experience.

How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?

The role has changed and continues to change as companies rely more on the insights their data can provide. Big data and machine learning are becoming increasingly dominant across enterprises.

As a result, new emerging technologies are always popping up, which means continuous learning and upskilling are very important for any software developer to keep up to date with the latest trends.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

As things are constantly changing within the big data and cloud technology world, there are often many different approaches developers can take to solve a business requirement.

One of the things I love in my role is having the ability and freedom to investigate these new emerging technologies to find the best fit for the given requirement.

From these investigations it gives me the chance to upskill and gain experience to better my decisions in the future.

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