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Meet the team designing and implementing software solutions to meet customer and business requirements

18 Jun 2021
Ordnance Survey
Behind the scenes
meet the teamengineer

Did you know, we're now recruiting for multiple Java Software Engineers? As part of our series to introduce you to the brilliant people within OS and the diversity of our work, meet Hannah Deakin. As a Java Software Engineer herself, here she tells us about the role and her OS experience…

Hannah Deakin.

Tell us a little about yourself

Although I was always interested in Maths and Science, I hadn’t really considered IT as a career until my late teens. Robot Wars was a popular TV programme at the time, and we'd had a school visit from Reading University where they brought along their 'Seven Dwarves' - a set of programmable robots. These got me interested in robotics and specifically Artificial Intelligence - how can you make these machines behave like real creatures and can they learn? I went on to study Computing with Artificial Intelligence at university, and so began my software engineering career!

Why OS?

I'd spent most of my career working at a large multinational IT company, and then a couple of years ago I was working at a start-up web analytics consultancy alongside some freelancing. I started to miss working as part of a bigger team so when I saw that OS was hiring Java software developers, I jumped at the chance.

I was drawn to all the benefits that a larger company brings like social clubs, benefit schemes and varied opportunities for progression. It also helped that I've always had a soft spot for maps from geography lessons long ago and location-wise it's perfect for me with headquarters just around the corner.

Everyone at OS are friendly and welcoming. I'm looking forward to a time when Covid-19 restrictions ease up enough for us to have regular team events and meetings in person. Managing my time with school aged children can be difficult, but this reached new levels during the bouts of home-schooling in lockdowns. It's made such a difference how supportive and flexible the company and team have been during these times.

How would you describe OS?

OS is a household name, well-known for their paper maps of course. I love that they even study OS maps at my children's school. Until I joined, I didn't realise just how much more it is than that though. OS products, services and expertise underpin so much infrastructure, such as playing a key part in enabling emergency services responses. It's been eye-opening and moving hearing how much of a difference our products make.

To me, OS feels like an extended family of people all passionate about what they do and all working towards a common purpose.

What do you do as a Java Software Engineer?

Java software engineers work on designing and implementing software solutions to meet customer and business requirements. Essentially, we are problem-solving with software.

We work as part of an agile team, working closely with stakeholders to make sure everyone's on the same page. As an example of the technologies we use, we'd typically be working on Java SpringBoot applications integrated with back-end PostgreSQL databases all deployed as Azure Cloud services. Even though we focus on particular technologies, there's so much opportunity to learn more. A key part of the role is to keep learning and to be open to suggesting and trying different ways of doing things.

How has OS enabled you to utilise your skills?

One of the main challenges we're working to solve at the moment is around the vast amount of data we have available. The project I am working on will improve the integration of our datasets and will enable customers to work better with our data.

I'm enjoying working on this project as it's allowing me to use and improve my prior knowledge of Java, while exploring new technologies and learning more about the geospatial domain.

I'm also thrilled to be a mentor for the OS trainee programme, which is an excellent 12-month programme enabling trainees to learn while working on real projects.

What have you found most interesting about the role?

I find it interesting seeing how my role fits within the bigger picture. There are so many different pieces of the puzzle to take a project from inception to completion and maintaining the service. Everyone has their own role to play with different challenges and commitments, but we're all collaborating and working towards the same goal.

Finally, do you have any advice for anyone interested in the software engineering roles at OS?

If you get the chance to, explore our current APIs on the OS Data Hub. This will give you a great idea of the sorts of things we work on.


Our Java Software Engineer roles are open for applicants – apply now!


Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey
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