My Software Development Journey – Interview With Ed Holdsworth

Life as a Software Development Apprentice Optimising Asset Management Through BIM

 

By Ed Holdsworth and Alison Rolfe

 

Bimsense started with a vision to help reinvent the future of construction.

In order to do this, founders Ian Yeo and Scott Pilgrim had to get out of construction, in order to help change it. By joining the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI), based in Hull’s rapidly expanding digital district, the objective was to surround themselves with talented young professionals that could inspire new thinking and skills to improve construction practices.

It quickly became necessary to create an in-house software development team in order to turn their ambitious ideas into reality.

Ed started at Bimsense in October 2018 after completing his A levels in computing and ICT. He has always had a passion for technology and a desire to create and develop using code.

Scott Pilgrim, Director of Bimsense commented: “We interviewed more people for this role than any other, such is the interest in software development in the growing Hull tech community. What was very clear with Ed, was that coding is his passion, he spoke at length about projects he was working on at home, problems he was trying to solve with code, for no reason other than he loved doing it. From an employer’s perspective, that level of passion and commitment to a role is priceless. At Bimsense, we hire on culture before technical ability, we are lucky that with Ed, he has both in abundance.

In construction, there are many analogue problems an therefore many opportunities to create digital solutions, which should keep Ed busy for a very long time!”.

Ed is currently progressing in his Level 3 Software Development apprenticeship and looking to continue to Level 4 in the near future.

 

What is your day-to-day role?

I work with Tim (Chief Technology Officer) to develop a mobile building and asset information app called Operance, a new Bimsense product. It’s our job to take the ideas that either Ian or Scott bring to us given their experience or what our clients feedback to us and build them into solutions that provide greater benefits.

I spend a lot of time learning from Tim and reorganising code, as well as developing and problem-solving in order to make everything work. I would say I spend a smaller amount of time to get the app working but much more of my time is spent in actually optimising it and making it faster.

 

Why did you decide on a career in software development?

As a kid, I’ve always been interested in technology and wanted to code. My Dad was also project manager of a coding team and so that has been a big influence, coding has always been a part of my life.

 

How did you gain knowledge and learn how to code before applying for the position?

Throughout school, I’ve always been interested to learn how computers work. I would often stay behind after class to ask what is possible. Once I have an idea of what I want to create, I would then find a way to do it, such as creating my own calculator.

During my I.T coursework, we had to develop a game; instead of using assisted IDE’s where the code was big blocks that you link together to form functions, I decided to go a step further and write my game in C# with visual studio and use a game engine called Unity. I designed a 2D platforming game called “Skele-run”, which is an apt name considering you play as a skeleton and you do a lot of running.

 

What attracted you to the software development role in the job description?

I’ve always been keen to do software development. The location at C4DI was also appealing, it’s surrounded by a lot of nice shops in the Fruit market, as well as being easy to get to via the train.

 

What do you think is the biggest benefit of software development within the construction industry?

Construction is quite far behind other industries in terms of its progress towards digitisation. I think software development – especially the app we are creating – is a step in the right direction in order to improve the industry and make it more productive.

 

Can you describe BIM in one sentence?

BIM is a process that involves essentially digitally building a project before it is physically built, the BIM model is the digital container for the data about the building.

 

Can you describe Operance in one sentence?

Operance is a digital operations and maintenance (O&M) manual, a simplified interface to search, store, update and share data from the BIM model.

 

What has been your biggest achievement so far at Bimsense?

I’m really proud of setting up the ‘forgotten password’ and email system for the Operance app. It was quite complex as it involved using the endpoints and API (Application Programming Interface) to take in the data before connecting to an email address in order to send emails. I have also learnt two completely new programming languages in the process which are DART and Flutter.

 

How have you found working with Tim and Ian so closely?

It’s my first time working in an office so it’s all new to me, hoping I haven’t annoyed anyone too much! Tim and Ian are really great at their jobs, I’m constantly improving what I know, working alongside them, I learn software development from Tim whilst learning about BIM from Ian. The close collaboration is also helpful to be able to talk through problems, suggest ideas, and ask for help or guidance when I need it.

 

What’s the next step in respect to your development, what are your ambitions at Bimsense?

My ambitions at Bimsense include completing my current apprenticeship scheme and moving onto level 4 software development in order to advance my knowledge of not only code but also technology as a whole. Whilst expanding my knowledge, I also want to continue developing and improving Operance as it has great potential for the future. There are lots of new features we have ideas for and I’m looking forward to progressing in my role and taking on more complex tasks and problems.

 

 

Published:  01 Aug 2019
Last Updated:  05 Aug 2019

 

 

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