Gravitywho? Ben Bennett
In this series, I interview the award-winning team of creative geeks, thinkers and grafters, one by one.
Ben, it’s a pleasure. So, where are you from and how long have you been at Gravitywell?
I’m originally from Guildford, Surrey but have lived the past ten years in the wonderful city that is Bristol.
I can’t quite believe it but it’s been about three months now since I joined Gravitywell. Time really does fly!
It sure does. What’s the best thing about working here (so far)?
It has to be the team for me. That and the working culture.
The team is full of intelligent people who are highly driven but equally know how to have a laugh and don’t take themselves too seriously. They were all so welcoming when I joined and we’ve had a few socials too which is nice.
I’ve worked for a couple of large corporations in the past and working at Gravitywell feels very different. Here at Gravitywell, you feel less like a cog in a large machine. I really get a sense that if I want to expand my skillset in a particular area I’ll be encouraged to do so. There are always new areas or technologies to explore.
Pizza and beer - what’s not to love, right? Who would be your dream client and what would you like to work on for them?
It would be great to work for a client doing something with computer vision or machine learning as I've always wanted to dip my toes in this area!
Nice! So how did you get into software development?
For me, the path to software engineering started with a curiosity about how things work and particularly electronics. That led to me studying Electronic Engineering at university. During my course, I most enjoyed the programming modules so it was a natural progression for me to study an MSc in Computer Science.
My path was very similar. Aside from the Electronic Engineering. And the Computer Science. What’s your advice for someone wanting to get into development?
Be forever curious! Always be asking yourself, why does this work? How does it work? Can it be improved? Development requires a lifelong commitment to learning, there’s always something new to learn and you’ll often need to spend some time upskilling yourself. At the same time, spend some time learning the fundamentals of software development and computer science as these never change.
Also, as a software engineer, the landscape you work in is constantly changing and it’s important to stay aware of the latest technologies while also retaining a solid grasp of the fundamentals of software development.
One of the best things about software development though is its accessibility. Not all professions have such an abundance of high-quality learning resources available for free on the internet. If someone has a curiosity about the world around them, a logical brain and a problem-solving mindset, then all the resources they need to thrive are just a click away!
That’s some great advice. Now, what’s the worst thing about being a developer?
As someone who likes to keep fit, for me it has to be sitting down for a large part of the day! To counter this, I often get up to stretch my legs and take a walk and it’d be great to start using a standing desk occasionally.
I’ve seen you doing yoga, Ben so can confirm you do indeed love a good stretch. What’s your favourite piece of tech and why?
That’s easy! It has to be the supercomputer sitting in my pocket... If you'd shown any modern smartphone to the pioneers of computing in the 20th century they'd be left gobsmacked by the sheer processing power of a device not much bigger than our hands.
Even as a teenager growing up on the cusp of the mobile revolution I would have struggled to believe in 2022 I’d be able to:
- Communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world in any language with the touch of a screen
- Find my way in an unfamiliar place and tap into the collective wisdom of thousands of others to find the best spots to dine, relax or get things done
- Purchase anything, anytime even in the most remote of places
It really is staggering to consider what these little things can do!
True! Right, most importantly - your Hackathon dream destination would be..?
That would have to be somewhere in the tropics, where we can code all day listening to the waves lapping against the shore with a cocktail beside us...
Alexa, play Club Tropicana. Finally, what’s the best-kept secret in Bristol?
Ah, there's a little hidden vantage point with the best views of the Suspension Bridge… it's a little off the beaten track though so you have to know where to look ;)
Thank you to Ben for being interviewed.
Stay tuned for another edition of Gravitywho? ...