Michael Nanni, Software Developer
Handheld User Interface Developer, BlackBerry
You know those little things you do on your BlackBerry from scrolling to zooming to sending texts? Michael writes the software codes that make them possible!
“What excites me is reading about my work in the media. Smart phones are so hot right now that anything new hits the blogosphere instantly,” Michael says. He’s also seen his work discussed in advertisements and on the news. “If someone tells me about a feature they like I can say, ‘I wrote that code!’”
“We have the job of writing the software and putting it all together so it runs on a device,” Michael says. He receives projects from his BlackBerry superiors. He then works with design teams who handle graphics and interactions to determine colours, transparency, etc before creating the demo code for a BlackBerry product.
“Not only do we put features into the product that people use every day, but we also make tools that third party developers use to build games, utility apps and all sorts of stuff. It adds a lot of value to the product and it’s a rewarding part of the company to be in because you directly influence what makes the product better,” he says.
A day in the life
Michael works with developers across the company and travels more than the typical software developer. Michael’s projects have brought him throughout the US and Canada. He also trains new developers. “I work on so many different components. It’s a great way to meet these developers and influence the application, and I get my hands into a lot of different things,” he says.
In the tech world, things move fast. “Every once in a while it feels like the world is waiting on you,” he says. Michael will research, experiment and try out new ideas and technologies. BlackBerry’s patent committee has even reviewed some of his state-of-the-art BlackBerry inventions!
Why this job rocks
- Rewarding and challenging: Michael's work at BlackBerry is exciting and different compared to his previous jobs. He's constantly challenged to come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things. “It’s like I’m a professional puzzle solver. They’ll give me a tricky problem and I have to figure it out,” Michael says.
- Flexibility: Michael's role as a developer allows him flexibility in his hours as long as he's working his 40 hour minimum. He's also able to dress more casual when he's not out representing the business, a luxury he certainly appreciates.
- Michael didn't always know he wanted a job in tech. When he was in high school he struggled with early mornings and lacked motivation, eventually causing him to drop out.
- He soon realized he wanted a career he could be proud of and inspired by, so he took night school and summer courses to get his high school diploma.
- He began applying for university and surprised himself when he not only got accepted, but received an entrance scholarship to the University of Guelph-Humber computing co-op program. He graduated with a bachelor of applied computing and a diploma in wireless & telecommunications technology.
- He decided he wanted to work for BlackBerry while in university, and landed a co-op position as a user interface software developer. He was so successful he was offered a job upon completion of university and now works for BlackBerry full-time.
- Working as a developer for a cutting-edge company can be stressful due to demands and deadlines. A lot of people depend on Michael across BlackBerry’s entire chain.
- “On a day-to-day basis, it’s critical to make sure that everything I put in is a really high standard,” Michael says.
- Michael's job requires a high attention to detail, a keen eye and a creative mind. He double checks his code and goes over his changes before submitting anything.
Tips for success
- Practice: “With software development you really need to practice it,” Michael says. Pushing the limits of what you can do makes you a better developer.
- Try co-op. “Co-op was the difference for me,” Michael says. “If you can’t get into a co-op position, find a way to get hands on with what you like doing.”
- Passion makes work effortless. When doing a job becomes effortless because you love it so much, then keep doing it!
- Learn the trade. “Learn to design software properly: what good software should look like when you read it and when you run it,” Michael says. Good software code is easy to read and understand - and also easy to improve. It will produce excellent user experiences and be fun, powerful and attractive.