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The people that make our digital vision possible: Meet our Head of Research and Development, Dale

Dale joined Admiral Tech as Head of the Research and Development team back in February, following an extensive career in a local software company.

Cardiff is a familiar city to Dale, as he has spent the majority of his career working in South Wales following his time at Nottingham University where he studied Mathematics. 

How did you get into your role and how does Admiral Tech differ from your previous companies?

Joining Admiral was quite a culture change, as my previous employer had around 100 staff members. Admiral Tech alone employs over 500 people, so initially, the thought of joining such a large company was quite daunting. However, I soon learned that the culture at Admiral is something special. We constantly work on the culture here, ensuring that customers and staff alike have their voices heard.

A great example of this is the Staff General Meeting; a huge event held in the Motorpoint Arena. The SGM provides staff with an afternoon of business updates, progress reports and entertainment – a thoroughly enjoyable experience!

I also really enjoy the open plan office space we have as it promotes a culture of openness and approachability, which in turn helps to drive creativity forward within the business.

I also like that everyone is really approachable, there are no barriers in the way.  Nothing illustrates this more than the fact that there are no offices – everyone, including senior managers, work at the same desks in the open plan office space.

What is your role within Admiral IT?

I head up the Research and Development team - a new team that formed just six months ago. The team was put together to introduce new technologies to the business, helping us to enhance the customer experience.

The work of the Research and Development team can come from various leads – we have good connections around the business, so we are often approached by different areas to solve business problems. We also keep an eye on what competitors and market leaders are doing, which gives us an idea of what technologies are up and coming and worth testing.  

The team is currently made up of a few developers, a UI/UX designer and a product owner, meaning that every project is a team effort. One of our most recent projects has been the development and testing of a DriveSafe App. The app aims to educate drivers on their driving habits and skills using telematics data.

In order to develop the app, the team took on the challenge of using Flutter – Google’s new UI toolkit for mobile development. This worked well even though most of the team had little experience with Flutter. Initial internal testing has provided us with encouraging and meaningful feedback on the app, highlighting how Admiral’s Test and Learn mentality works in practice.

Our team is expanding significantly in the next few months meaning we’ll have a greater capacity to take on new projects – exciting times ahead!

Favourite thing about your role?

I love how Admiral Tech promotes learning, developing and testing with the latest technologies. We are able to do this with creative flair and freedom, which has resulted in some great projects and results.

It is amazing to be a part of Admiral’s Tech Transformation too, in particular, the migration to using Cloud Technologies. This is an incredible opportunity and played a large part in my decision to join Admiral. Over the next couple of years, Admiral will be moving the vast majority of its systems to the cloud, indeed we already have some projects running in Azure and Google Cloud Platform.  Being able to drive the use of technologies like Docker and Kubernetes at scale in a business like Admiral makes working here really rewarding.

As a developer, you can often feel distant from your work, especially in consultancy-based roles. However, as a developer in Admiral Tech, you get to see the impact that your work has on the business and for customers, which is a rewarding feeling!

Advice for anyone thinking of joining Admiral IT?

There’s no time like the present!  There is a great opportunity within Admiral for people who want to make a difference using technology.  You might have the fear that working in a big financial services company will be dull but being part of Admiral isn’t at all like that. 

Click here to read about Simon, one of our Enterprise Architects 

Click here to read more about our Head of Infrastructure, Chris Bevan

Read more about Gill, Quality and Development Coach and Animal Lover

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