My time in Sheffield exceeded my expectations

Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
Software Development Engineer, Amazon Web Services
MComp Computer Science
Utilising the skills he learnt in Sheffield, Daniel now leads a team breaking new ground in cloud computing at Amazon Web Services.
Daniel explains his role, reflects on his time in the Department's 'community' and offers some valuable advice to the next generation of computer scientists:
Daniel Jones

What have you been up to since graduating?

I started as Software Development Engineer with AWS in Cambridge, and was promoted following the launch of a major S3 feature I helped lead: S3 Object Lambda. I still work within AWS and now lead a team working with open source projects customers use with Amazon S3.

What are you main responsibilities in the role?

I lead a team that owns several projects that are public and non-public. This involves programming and code reviews as well as mentorship and decision making. As our team contributes to open source, I also build relationships with contributors in the open source community.

What does a typical day look like?

On a typical day, I write and review code internally or on GitHub depending on the project. I also lead the team in technical designs or working backwards plans for new features or optimisations.

What skills from your degree do you make use of?

Practical software engineering skills such as testing, software design, version control. Algorithms and data structures knowledge proves useful in complex scenarios. Testing, software design, and version control modules have been invaluable when working as part of a team in industry, while algorithms and data structures knowledge proved useful reviewing critical code paths running at cloud scale.

Why did you choose to study at Sheffield?

Sheffield offered a more practical course than other offerings. I was particularly interested in the Software Hut module which provided a taste of how a software company works, identifying requirements with a client or customer, and delivering it as a group.

Did you time in Sheffield meet your expectations?

It met and exceeded them!

What were the best things about studying in the Department?

The best part was the sense of community. Through the Department and societies, there were many extra-curricular activities to engage in. Hackathons were a really rewarding event where you could learn something new and meet new peers.

What advice would you give to current students/ recent graduates?

I would encourage students to apply what they learn to other modules. Use unit testing and version control even when they're not part of project or assignment - and you'll be proficient with them when you need to rely on them after graduation.

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