JOSHUA LEWIS

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Associate at nReality


I’ve been working as a software developer for 11 years now. During this time, I’ve worked for many different companies, from small start-ups through to large corporates and across various industries; working on unsecured loans, through to online poker, SMS campaigns, and digital media.

From an academic perspective, I would consider my highlights to be both my BSC and Masters projects - because both were implemented and used after the projects were presented. For my BSC, the software we developed was used by the school of electrical information engineering long after we left, and the software I wrote for my internship - at a server monitoring company - was also used some while after my internship ended.

For the past two years, I’ve been working as an associate at nReality. It’s a boutique consultancy where we provide software engineering services including coaching and training, for both outsourced and co-sourced development. Although I still do a lot of development work, my role has evolved to be more focused on training and coaching.

I love coaching as a big passion of mine is self-development. Currently, my hobby project - an app that can be used to locate books that friends close by may have - is also a big passion. Other passions include becoming a good global citizen, a good father, and I love being part of communities. As many as possible in fact!

The software community has been good to me; it feels like I’ve found my tribe. So I try to offer that to other people and give as much of myself as I can by going to conferences, and helping people to build their self-confidence. Communities can be so powerful. The JHB community has grown so much in recent years; there are events every week. Even the electronic tools like Twitter and Slack are useful for sharing ideas – if you can’t get to every event to see people, these are great tools to feel like you are part of a community.

For me, one of the most exciting things about software development in South Africa today is that we are receiving recognition on a global stage. Not only are more and more South Africans speaking at international conferences, but there are South African developments, such as the Spine Model, which is receiving good exposure internationally.

Given this, it’s hard to imagine what the South African community will be discussing in a few years from now, partly because we are quite isolated geographically. This often means we lag in some areas, but it also means we are forging ahead in others, so the future is ours to make and that is pretty exciting – we’ll have to wait and see.

I like to think I’m one of the better-networked people in the industry so people can pretty much find me anywhere! Try the developer user group, code and coffee, jozi.rb, and I’m also looking at starting a domain driven design group. I also lecture part-time at WITS to CPD and Masters in Engineering students.

If I didn’t have to work, I’d probably spend my days attending university courses, writing software, having fun with my children, and travelling. Who wouldn’t!?