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Team Q&A: 7 Questions with our Senior Back-end Developer, Michael

A father, a coder, a gamer, and guitarist, our Senior Backend Developer Michael does it all while keeping Coassemble thriving. Ensuring our cloud applications are running smoothly, Michael is the reason booting up Coassemble is fast and crispy. As one of our longest-standing employees, Michael has seen Coassemble grow from the early days of eCoach, all the way into the wonder authoring tool it is today. Read on to see how Michael and the backend developer team work their magic.

24 Dec 2020 by Ariel Jehwo-Malcolm

About Michael

A jack-of-all-trades, our Senior Backend Developer Michael juggles the roles of father, coder, gamer, and guitarist, all while ensuring Coassemble's continued success. As the architect behind our seamless cloud applications, Michael is the driving force behind Coassemble's lightning-fast boot-up times. A loyal member of our team since the early days of eCoach, Michael has been instrumental in shaping Coassemble's evolution from a simple e-learning platform into the robust and versatile microlearning and authoring tool it is known for today.

1. Let’s start with an easy one— tell me about your role at Coassemble?

I’m a Senior Backend Developer. I manage a small team of developers that work on the code running inside Amazon’s servers. As opposed to the front-end developers that work on the code that runs inside the web browser on your computer.

I mostly deal with improving the loading time of the application, whether that’s in the database, or web server, or the ability of Coassemble to rapidly scale up and down as more customers use our platform.

2. I heard that you wrote the first line of code for Coassemble, can you tell me about that?

When I started out it was just Jude (The Founder) and me. Jude gave me some idea of his vision for the application and I started out with small steps. The first thing was just a basic login page, and it grew from there. Think big, start small.

Development was quite easy to begin with, but has become increasingly complex and challenging as the application has grown. I’m not really the visionary driving forward features, but I have had moments of inspiration on how to improve the performance of the system which have led to some big gains.

3. So, you're one of the most tenured employees in our Development team (and the whole Coassemble team), what is one of the coolest projects you’ve worked on?

In my work at Coassemble, we have had many small projects working towards building the features and performance of the application.

I really enjoyed working on the scheduled reminders project as it took many weeks of brainstorming with the team and collaborating closely. Initially, we had some ideas of how we would implement this, but they needed some adjustments. Backend and Frontend developers both had input into the final design.

4. You’ve worked in Development for many years now, what are the tools and resources you couldn’t live without?

The tool I couldn’t live without more than any other is Linux. I strongly believe the Internet of today wouldn’t exist without the genius of Linus Torvalds creating it. A distant second would be Google.

Jira is essential to managing a team of developers, and the methodology it implies, Scrum, can be beneficial to any team. Slack and Google Meet have been very helpful in managing remote staff.

5. Okay, now we’ve gotten to know your life at Coassemble, I want to talk a little bit about your life outside of Coassemble! We recently had our 2020 Coassemble Christmas Party, and you blew the team away at karaoke. What musical talents do you have?

I’ve played electric guitar since I was 18. I was inspired to play by some friends I had at the time and they gave me lessons to get me started. I like blues, rock, and metal. I’ve wanted to start a band for some time but never came across like-minded people.

I’ve always enjoyed singing but people’s opinions on the quality of that singing vary wildly. I think I’m most similar to Gary Moore and do a great James Hetfield (Metallica). I also enjoy doing a Madonna or Kylie Minogue in a falsetto voice for a laugh.

6. I also know that you love to game. What games have helped you through 2020?

I really enjoyed Doom Eternal this year, fast-paced action to get your heart racing. At the other end of the spectrum, Death Stranding has been a nice relaxing walking simulator. I played Red Dead Redemption 2, but the story was really sad. Enjoying Cyberpunk 2077 at the moment, despite the bugs.

7. To wrap it up, what is something interesting about you that most people don’t know about you?

I’m autistic. I was diagnosed as an adult when Toby, my son was diagnosed. It was a game-changer for me to realise why I have had so much trouble with social situations all my life. Coassemble has been the most supportive workplace I have ever had. They have gone out of their way to help my family and I through some difficult times.

True story: I also haven’t had a hair cut since I was hired at Coassemble 😎

Want to learn more about the team behind Coassemble? Check out our 7 Questions with... Q&A series!

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