The Experiences of a Junior Software Developer at bet365 with Ben Leadbetter

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Ben Leadbetter

Junior Software Developer

bet365

What is your role at bet365?

I am a Junior Software Developer working in the Site Services team. Our team is responsible for both the website and the apps, covering the sports and in-play sections. So far, I’ve been focused on frontend web development, but I’ve had the opportunity to do app development for both Android and iOS with plans to do more in the future, as well as starting some backend development. Our team consists of frontend, backend and app developers which allows us to work on a variety of projects at once. The work we do consists of adding new features, bug fixes and reducing technical debt in our software.

Is this your first role with bet365?

This is my first role within bet365. I did a placement year elsewhere as part of my degree, so I had some experience working which helped my transition into the workplace after my graduation. Entering the workplace after university can seem daunting but I was supported from the start at bet365. I was encouraged to take time learning the technologies and systems, which was helpful when working with a much larger codebase than any I had seen at university. Everyone in my team has been very supportive, ready to help me at a moment’s notice with questions that I may have. Soft skills are especially important in the workplace, with communication being vital when consistently working in collaborative environments.

What technologies do you work with?

As I’ve been focused on frontend web development to start with, I’ve predominantly been using Typescript and CSS. The apps are written in Kotlin for Android and Swift for iOS, which has allowed me to gain experience working with these. Backend development uses Go, which is a programming language that I’ve never used before. Fortunately, we have lots of training resources for all the technologies we use, which has allowed me to quickly learn anything that is new to me.

What training did you receive to support you with your role?

When I started at bet365, I was given time to complete a custom made bootcamp which reflected a simplified version of the bet365 system. I undertook a range of tasks alongside reading documentation which allowed me to gain a full understanding of how everything works. At every step I was supported by teammates; I received feedback on all the tasks I completed to ensure that I fully understood what I had done and the best approach for each task. I’ve also been given time to complete Pluralsight courses, allowing me to further develop my skills in areas that interest me.

What is the most challenging part about your role?

One interesting challenge, which is not something that I did at university, is the regular context switching. I work in a variety of areas across the site and will often be working in a few different ones at any one time. I need to context switch between these different areas and my understanding of different parts of the system to allow me to effectively utilise my time. For example, I may receive feedback on my code changes for one piece of work at the same time as finishing another, so I need to recall the work that I previously did on a completely different area to allow me to continue working. Working like this has allowed me to greatly improve my skills as a software developer, I need to quickly understand the purpose and logic of a section of code by reading it. It has also encouraged me to write more readable code and improve my communication skills as my prior messages can act as reminders to the work I completed.

What is your biggest achievement so far at bet365?

When starting at bet365, I was initially focused on support tickets. This allowed me to work on a wide range of different parts of the site, fixing bugs in a variety of areas. Since then, I have begun to work on projects, which brings about new challenges. My biggest achievement so far has been the work that I did on the in-play cricket bet builder project. I was the frontend developer for this project, working closely with the backend developers in my team. I was given the freedom and responsibility to decide the best approach and solution to the challenges that we faced, undertaking regular discussions with the backend developers to agree upon our solutions.

What do you enjoy about your team?

The thing that I enjoy most about my team is that everyone is happy to help and always support. If there is ever anything that I don’t fully understand, the entire team is willing to answer any questions I have which has been hugely beneficial in my development and growth. The support of my team has allowed me to learn quickly so that I can pick up any new challenges that come my way.

Would you recommend bet365?

I would recommend bet365 for a new graduate. You will be supported from the start with bootcamps available as training and continual help throughout once you have finished the bootcamp. There are constantly new things to learn and exciting things to work on.

What tips would you give to somebody applying to bet365?

Make sure to be interested in a broad range of topics with a specific focus on what you’re applying to. For example, you may be an enthusiastic iOS developer so ensure you have a deep understanding there but don’t neglect your knowledge of wider software engineering and other technologies. Spend some time researching bet365 and the gambling industry, it can be useful in your application process, your interviews and when you start!

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