Here at FreeAgent, we rely on our dedicated Developer or ‘Dev’ Platform team to create a smooth development experience for the software engineers who work on the FreeAgent product itself, protecting them from the technical intricacies of the software’s underlying infrastructure.
We sat down with one of our talented Dev Platform engineers, Peter Singh (pictured above), to find out more about his role at FreeAgent.
Hi Peter! What do you do at FreeAgent?
Hi there, I work in the Dev Platform team here at FreeAgent, keeping our software engineers happy and productive!
For anyone who’s not familiar - what exactly does a Dev Platform team do at a software company?
We try to ensure our engineers have the tools available to them to ship high-quality code often, and with confidence. Other companies might have Release Engineering or DevOps teams that perform similar tasks.
A large part of our current remit is to own and maintain the main FreeAgent application’s CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) system. This can run more than 60,000 tests on every change pushed by an engineer in about six minutes and can deploy changes in about twelve minutes from clicking the merge button. All of this whilst being cost-effective, secure and resilient.
That allows our product engineers to ship their changes quickly knowing that a rollback is only twelve minutes away and with the confidence that all of the automated testing has passed.
We also support other teams with whatever CI/CD needs they might have and try to empower them to own and manage it themselves.
What do you enjoy most about working in a Dev Platform team?
It’s great being able to work closely with great engineers across the company and directly improve their day-to-day experiences. And as a former product engineer myself, it’s been great to scratch a few itches that I felt myself.
On top of that, we’re empowered to own and prioritise our own roadmap and are able to both gather feedback directly and see the impact first hand when we’ve been successful.
Since migrating our CI/CD system from Jenkins to GitHub Actions last year, we’ve also significantly reduced the time we spend on maintaining the CI/CD system, enabling us to investigate and work on a range of problems that our wider development team faces. For example, we've recently improved the experience of deploying to our 80 integration environments.
What do you find challenging about working in a Dev Platform team?
There are lots of things we’d like to do and fantastic ideas to implement, so prioritising the work that will have the highest impact is sometimes a challenge. Also, because we straddle a few domains, there are quite a few tools, systems and languages to get on top of (most of which are always changing too).
What was your career journey like before coming to FreeAgent?
I did a degree in Modern History and Economics at The University of Manchester, followed by joining a relatively early cohort of CodeClan. From CodeClan I landed a job in the Support Engineering team here at FreeAgent.
I had a couple of great years in Support Engineering helping customers with their more technical support needs, followed by another couple of years in a product team, working on projects like putting currencies into bills and VAT onto estimates, finally ending up in Dev Platform.
What do you enjoy most about working at FreeAgent?
The open, friendly and trusting environment. People here are trusted to get on with doing their best work and are supported when things don’t go quite according to plan.
Any advice you’d give to someone considering applying for a software engineering role with FreeAgent?
If you enjoy solving problems for engineers and keeping them productive, whilst enjoying the autonomy to shape and prioritise the most impactful work to get that done, you’re a perfect fit.
If you’re interested in joining the FreeAgent team, check out our current vacancies.