Employee Spotlight Of The Month: Haroon Javed – Principal Software Developer

27th February 2024

Welcome to the twenty-third of our ‘Employee Spotlight of the Month’ interviews! At Dakota, we believe that everyone within our organisation plays an equally important role in making the company what it is today.

Each month we will be sharing an interview with a member of staff in order to showcase their key responsibilities within the business and the benefits which they offer to our valued customer base.

This month we spoke with Haroon Javed, Principal Software Developer, to find out more about his role within Dakota.

1. How long have you worked at Dakota and how long have you been in your current role?

I started my new role as Principal Software Developer at Dakota on the 2nd of January 2024. 


2. What does the role of Principal Software Developer at Dakota involve?

The role of Principal Software Developer at Dakota involves overseeing and managing the technical aspects of engineering projects. There are several key elements within my role, one of which is the ability to architect complex software solutions to technical problems. This is achieved by first understanding a client’s need for our expertise, discussing and helping to define their requirements and developing and integrating our cloud or hybrid solution with efficiency in mind, right through to acceptance testing and product release. 


3. What key attributes do you believe you need in order to achieve success within your role?

In order to achieve success within a role such as mine, you first and foremost need a strong technical background which is achieved through experience. Having built an understanding of a variety of different languages and frameworks over the 10 years that I have been a developer, from building .Net Web Applications to Mobile Apps, I can distinguish the benefits of using different technologies to provide an optimal solution. I develop software with coding standards with clean and understandable architecture in mind using design patterns.

Furthermore, an excellent understanding of the end user’s needs is vital to developing a solution that is fit for purpose. This can only be achieved through fully understanding the business case for the projects which we undertake.

In addition, being able to learn at a fast pace and keeping up to date with technology trends equips us with the ability to adapt to provide cutting-edge solutions to our clients. 

Excellent written and verbal communication skills is also a key factor; being able to understand the complexity involved in the project and then breaking this down into small bite-sized pieces of information to communicate with peers at all levels of understanding. Having reliable time and task management helps to internally coordinate and schedule to set client expectations.

Sharing technical knowledge is also advantageous in that it upskills our team; the more we know collectively, the better placed we are to providing informed decisions. 


4. What do you enjoy most about your role at Dakota?

I work closely with Mark Batchelour, Head of Systems, our Technical Manager Mike Mannall and our Head of Service James Roberts. My colleagues have a wealth of experience and have exceptional market and industry knowledge. This, coupled with their motivation and drive to succeed, is a great recipe to help propel our products forward and for me to learn about voice-directed technologies. I can ask anything and they always have the answer! We have a great relationship and work collaboratively by attending team meetings to discuss projects, mind-mapping ideas and putting forward solutions to any issues. I can say that I am thoroughly enjoying working with my team and Dakota as a whole. I’m excited at the prospect of working with voice technology and I’m fully immersing myself in learning new skills from our high-calibre team.


5. What are the most challenging aspects of your role?

I often come across technical problems that at first glance look as though they are unsolvable, but I take great take joy in the challenge of seeking and implementing new ways to overcome the issue until I have found the best solution. 


6. How do you believe that your role positively impacts our customers’ experience?

I believe that my expertise from a technical standpoint will help shape our software solutions going forward and we can then begin to streamline our products and build great, long-lasting client relationships. Through regular client meetings with our wider Technical Team, we have been able to demonstrate our commitment to providing bespoke solutions by presenting our development processes, architectural design and UI/UX ideas to depict the look and feel of an application to our clients before the development phase begins. This not only gives clear indication of our road-map, but also gives our clients an appreciation of what will be involved. Providing clear, honest and transparent communication is key at all times to ensure our clients’ expectations are always met. 


7. And finally…..please give us an interesting or fun fact about yourself

I’m an avid sim-racer and in 2015 I entered the Nissan GT Academy competition designed to turn virtual racers into real racing drivers. I set a lap time on Gran Turismo that was top 10 in the UK and then went on to race at a virtual simulator event in the Trafford Centre, where I was one second per lap quicker than my competitors. I was selected to go to race camp at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu-Dhabi to represent the UK and compete in the 2015 Nissan GT Academy Europe competition against racers from other countries, driving real race cars over a series of mental and physical challenges. But … it was during my crucial final year at university and taking time out to attend would have had an impact on my degree score so I had to turn the opportunity down.….fast forward 9 years and here I am as a racing driver…..I mean Principal Software Developer!