We chatted to Lesley Whitfield, software developer in our Wilmslow office, about her work at Global Graphics Software:
What is your background?
I was always interested in maths and science then discovered engineering at university, eventually ending up with an Open University degree in maths and electronics.
How did you come to work at Global Graphics Software?
I was looking for a new challenge after working on a smaller product. Although I was also offered the opportunity at the time to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, I chose the more technically interesting job at Global Graphics Software.
What were you doing before?
A whole range of jobs from stress analysis in the aerospace sector, instrument safety, embedded software for smart meters, to software for direct mail. Before joining Global Graphics Software 18 years ago I tended to move on to something new every couple of years.
What’s the best thing about working at Global Graphics Software?
Working in a highly motivated and skilled team that is serious about doing the best possible job.
What has been your career path since joining Global Graphics Software?
I joined as a software developer helping out with our color management technology including some of the more mathematical aspects. Later I wrote the color interpretation code for XPS (one of the Page Description Languages we support), then was lucky enough to join the PCL team from the start. This allowed me to play a significant part in interpreting the specification and designing the way the PDL code interacts with our underlying core technology, which in turn was very useful when I was part of the team trying to speed it up. I have swapped back and forth between a couple of teams, tending to specialize in one or two main areas but helping out where required including, unusually, a stint as developer in support. The last six months I have been excited to work on our Harlequin VariData™ solution where it is possible to make a very big difference to performance and hence the customer experience.
What is the environment like?
Hardworking, friendly and helpful. Ideas are discussed on their merits so everyone has a chance to contribute. Developers have a good relationship with QA who take an active part in our scrums, and also with support. Working hours are fairly flexible and evenings and weekends are respected. The office can be a little quiet sometimes, but everyone is willing to discuss technical issues and most people are up for a chat in the kitchen. We are small enough to get to know people across the company. There are various social events throughout the year.
What is the most exciting thing about your work?
Probably knowing that the software I’m writing today will soon be allowing huge presses all over the world to operate accurately and at high speed.
What projects have you been involved with?
The most exciting project I was involved with was when we had six months to make our embedded RIP go three times faster across a wide range of jobs. This was incredibly challenging but as a team we were determined to do it, and thanks to our ingenuity and diverse skill set we succeeded!
Have you taken advantage of any of the company benefits?
Yes, I am a keen sailor and volunteer as sea staff with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland. I normally do at least a week each year and put my paid charity day towards that (http://oytscotland.org.uk/).
In addition, I always take up the opportunity of a week’s unpaid leave in addition to my paid holiday.
Global Graphics Software has also supported me over the years in achieving my personal goals. I have been studying Japanese as a hobby with Manchester University since 2015, and last year I was able to spend two months working in our Tokyo office which greatly benefited my Japanese. I just got my final exam results and am very pleased to say I passed!
What keeps you here?
Working here gives me an opportunity to work on the type of problems that I enjoy solving, with friendly colleagues who are highly motivated to do a great job. I feel my work is appreciated and relied on. Recently Global Graphics Software has been getting into a variety of new areas such as multi-level screening and inkjet technologies, and that can only mean more opportunities in the future.
If you’re interested in joining Global Graphics Software visit our web page to find the latest vacancies: www.globalgraphics.com/careers