Jack Caven, Software Developer at SDA
Jack works as a Full Stack Software Developer with Star Data Analytics (SDA) on their Ethos energy management system. He initially joined Star in 2020 as an engineering intern upon graduating from his masters in Mechanical Engineering, however he discovered a passion for software development and was then supported to pursue studies in this area.
What is your education background?
I spent 5 years at the University of Aberdeen, studying Mechanical Engineering, achieving my master’s degree in 2020.
What attracted you to the refrigeration industry and to Star in particular?
The refrigeration industry has been evolving for some time, with the adoption of new technologies. Star caught my eye, as they strive to lead in the adoption of these new technologies and also are open to new thought-processes and ideas, which could make a significant difference to current refrigeration practices.
What do you specialise in now, or what kind of projects do you work on? How different is it to your previous role?
I am now working within Star Data Analytics (SDA) as a Full Stack Software Developer. This entails the maintenance and development of different areas of the Ethos software, an energy management product for refrigeration and heating systems. Working on the implementation of Machine Learning to help predict our customers’ energy savings when our team at SDA identifies and carries out a potential plant optimisation opportunity is incredibly exciting. Other projects include conveying the data we gather in more explainable ways on our customer-facing web portal.
I originally joined SDA as an engineering intern, where I supported the physical installing of Ethos hardware on sites and provided support to the Lead Software Developer. This exposed me to all areas in which Ethos is implemented on a customer site.
What do you enjoy most about your job, and what are the biggest challenges you face?
The most enjoyable part of my job is having the freedom to explore ideas that I have, which may improve the product. This is something I don’t believe is common within the industry, so I take a lot of encouragement in the trust that the team have in me. I hold a lot of accountability over our releases. This helps motivate me and encourage me to keep producing the best possible solutions for the customer.
Any general career highlights?
Implementing a Machine Learning solution to improve how we communicate energy savings to customers was a really exciting project. The feedback I received from implementing this technology has been incredibly encouraging. Another career highlight is the level of development I have accomplished since starting at Star. Having never written a line of code in C# to now using it to develop whole features, is something I feel very proud of. This all being due to being invested in by the team at SDA.
What advice would you give to young people who are just starting a similar career path to yours?
Having a solid work ethic and a development-driven mind-set will put you in a great position to choose whatever career path you would like to go down, even if your educational background is different. Endeavour to build your skillset so that if a good opportunity comes along, you’ll be better equipped to succeed.