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Employee Spotlight with Ramez, Software Developer

What was your path to DRW?

I studied Software Engineering at Concordia University. During my time there, I interned at Bell Canada and Genetec. Upon graduation, I worked at Genetec for a year on a cloud team. While I enjoyed the work there, I was looking for something a bit more challenging and jumped at the Software Developer role at DRW. I have now been here for almost a year!

Can you tell us about your current role and day-to-day responsibilities/projects?

I am a Software Developer for NX, the network team within DRW. We develop tools and monitoring applications for internal teams.

One of my current projects is to build a highly available, scalable, and distributed API service. My day currently consists of design and implementation for this system, and providing small feature updates for some of our internal apps.

How have you grown in your career at DRW? What tools/people helped?

My first challenge at DRW was getting over my initial imposter syndrome. I joined a team of very skilled and versatile developers. My entire team is comfortable with front-end , back-end , and DevOps, which made the team initially feel out of my league. With the help of my new hire buddy’s continuous feedback and advice as well as general onboarding, I was able to overcome this challenge by understanding the value I brought to the team while also developing a new skillset

Over the last year, I have really expanded my knowledge on the technical side of things. I have strengthened my back-end and DevOps skills with some dotnet, docker, k8s, and CI-CD pipelines and learned new stacks such as angular and typescript. In my role, I have received the support and training I need to be successful and look forward to the continued opportunities to grow.

What is your favorite part of your job? What is the most challenging part of your job?

What I enjoy most about my job is the ability to learn and create. On the NX team, we manage the entire lifecycle of our applications from ideation to implementation. We go from requirements gathering and stakeholder discussions to the architecture and design phase, then to development and testing, and finally setting up pipelines and deploying. During this process, there are a lot of moving parts, but it is always rewarding to get to the final product.

When it comes to the most challenging part of my job, I would say it is being on-call. Since NX is responsible for DRW’s network, it is possible you could get called off work hours to solve an issue. Luckily, our systems are stable, resilient, and provide good observability, so being called is rare.

What 3 skills are key for someone interested in a software developer role at DRW?

A big skill that is needed to be successful as a Software Developer on the NX team is great communication. We are constantly gathering requirements from stakeholders with different levels of technical knowledge and it's important to adapt to your audience while still being able to efficiently communicate software concepts and the scope of the project Furthermore, there is a lot of exchange and interaction and collaboration between different software teams within DRW, and making sure that all parties are appropriately informed is key.

Another important skill would be an interest to continually learn new tech. DRW is a firm that is always keeping up with modern tech stacks. For dev’s this means there are constantly new technologies/processes to learn and expand upon.

The last skill I would suggest is to be self-driven. DRW allows for organic growth opportunities. Employees that are self-driven can quickly take ownership of specific applications, workflows and even new tech stacks.

What’s your favorite thing about the Montreal office?

THE FOOD! It's awesome, we get catered meals from 25 different restaurants in downtown Montreal. Our catering manager is extremely helpful and flexible if you have food restrictions. The second thing would definitely be the view from the 17th floor. We have a stunning view of Mount Royal.