Day in the life: Ajantha Malwatta – Residential Lead Developer at Solarcentury
In the third of our “Nice to meet you” series featuring Solarcentury people, Ajantha Malwatta discusses working as the Residential Lead Developer at Solarcentury.
Q: What does the software development team do?
Shopping online is now commonplace; holidays, groceries, cars, phones, clothes can all be purchased by a mouse click. Provided the back-end technology is functioning as it should, and the front-end is simple for the customer to use, buying online is quick and easy. We have applied the same strategy for buying solar online via IKEA.
Q: Describe a typical day as the Lead Software Developer at Solarcentury.
My day starts with a short ‘stand-up’ meeting with the team; we each share our priorities and obstacles. I am responsible for helping to overcome any roadblocks, whether that’s getting additional info from our internal customer, or advising on the best approach to resolve a technical query.
My role is threefold: to serve and lead the team, to oversee the direction and architecture of the apps we build, and to mentor the junior developers. I really value the diversity.
Q: Homeowners can now buy solar for their home from IKEA, together with Solarcentury. What tools did the team develop to make it possible to buy solar online?
In April 2016, Solarcentury and IKEA launched a new home solar offer that is available in-store and online. We have made the offer simple and affordable for IKEA customers by combining our solar expertise with our custom-built software solutions, which is a range of tools that make it straightforward for an IKEA customer to choose solar.
For example, we designed a solar calculator so that homeowners can find out how much they can save and earn by installing a solar system on their roof. The calculator enables us to create a unique solar design for each customer within minutes, so the customer can make a decision quickly.
Q: What’s impressive about the IT team at Solarcentury?
We are a small team compared to most development teams but it’s the quality of our shared skills that means we are effective and impactful. It means we can deliver the best results that support the growth of the wider business, while delivering a positive experience for our customers.
Q: What are you working on that gets you fired up?
Solarcentury’s dynamic atmosphere and hunger for doing things better – more efficiently and with enhanced impact – motivates me to learn new skills and technologies, and test different ways of doing things.
Q: What excites you about the future of IT at Solarcentury?
Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are going to revolutionise how companies process data – this will help us to better predict future energy needs, for example. AI can use satellite imagery to more accurately determine whether a rooftop is well suited for roof solar systems. More accurate information about the roof, such as size, shape and level of shading means that the quote will be more accurate for the customer. Ultimately, the solar quotes we offer customers will become even more personalised and specific to the customer’s needs.
Q: What do you like doing away from work?
I try to get some time away from a computer screen! I travel whenever I get the chance, am learning photography skills and I might take up learning the guitar later this year.
Q: The best advice you’ve ever been given?
I think my best work has come from heeding the advice of my last boss, “Trust your team.”
Read more from our day in the life series: