Employee Spotlight: Q&A with André Drougge, One of Keeper’s Longest-Serving Developers

At Keeper Solutions, we help our clients to scale up their development capabilities with cost effective access to vastly experienced, remote software development teams. Our pool of talent is made up of the best, most highly-skilled, senior software talent across all technical competencies.

Our team has almost doubled in size in the last year to over 80 employees. One of our longest-serving developers is André Drougge, who definitely fits in the mould of “the best, most highly-skilled talent”. André has been with Keeper Solutions for over seven years, working with a broad range of FinTech clients throughout his time with us.

Recently, we got the chance to sit down with André to find out a little bit more about what makes his career to date, what excites him most in the FinTech space and the clever concept of ‘rubber duck debugging’. 

What first attracted you to a career in technology?

I was fascinated by how programming worked. It felt like a puzzle where the aim of the game was to figure out what to write to get the computer to do what you wanted it to do. The challenges became harder as I learned more. I got a great kick out of it every time I pieced something together. 

The first exposure I had to programming was a Java course in school. I didn’t know what I was doing. It was basically just a collection of if/else statements. But it made software development less scary and a lot more approachable. That started my path on to the career I have now.


What are the values you appreciate the most in your teammates?

I value when people show an interest in understanding the full picture. It tends to be easier to communicate and come to an intelligent conclusion when the people you work with understand the product and the business.

It’s easy to spend time and effort on the wrong thing if the priorities aren’t clear. But if developers are included in the roadmap and understand the whats and the whys of the business plan, then working in the same direction becomes much more natural.


What do you think are the most interesting trends in FinTech right now?

The most interesting thing going on in finance, trading and technology is definitely blockchain development. There are many aspects of this that fascinate me. Bitcoin, of course, being the finance/trading component of that. And from a technological perspective, dApp development (decentralised applications) is very intriguing. 

This space is developing so quickly that we’re still figuring out what works and what doesn’t, what is a good idea and what is not. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for this kind of development to settle, solidify and become more mature.

What are your favourite productivity hacks or tools?

I like discussing technical solutions before attempting to implement them, even if the discussion is just between me and myself! This gives me clarity and focus during implementation.

Ever heard of rubber duck debugging? It’s very simple, it goes like this:

                  1. Beg, borrow, steal, buy, fabricate, or otherwise obtain a rubber duck (the bathtub variety).
                  2. Place the rubber duck on your desk and let it know that that you are going to go over some code with it…if that’s alright with the duck.
                  3. Explain to the duck what your code is supposed to do. Then go into detail and explain your code line by line.
                  4. At some point you will tell the duck what you are doing next. You then might realise that it’s not actually what you are doing. The duck will sit there serenely, happy in the knowledge that it has helped you spot an error or figure out a better way! 

This trick comes courtesy of lists.ethernal.org.

The whole point of this exercise is to help you put your reasoning into coherent thoughts, or even managed to just articulate a specific question. Most probably the answer will simply come to you as you are slowly walking through it step by step.

Worst case scenario is that you don’t know the answer. But you now have a brief and well-formed question. At that point you can simply go look for an answer.

What was your first computer?


What are you enjoying most right now in your role at Keeper? 

I’m enjoying working with a product that I believe in. But I also enjoy branching into new technology that I haven’t worked with before. I’ve studied blockchain technology and dApp development in the past, and now I’m considering learning more about NodeJS.

It doesn’t happen too often, but every now and again I feel the need to branch out of my usual area and soak in some new information. Usually there’s some good content on KS Udemy account for that!


What do you like to do most that’s not related to computers?

I like archery and music. 

When I have some spare time I either sit down and jam. Or I go outside with my bow!

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in FinTech?

FinTech isn’t necessarily different from any other tech industry. Perhaps when building tools to manage valuable assets, it’s easier to convince the product owners that going slow to build a stable, scalable, well tested product is the only right way to do it. 

As a side effect, dev methodologies are respected more, the roadmaps become predictable, and developers become happier with healthy stress levels. 

My advice would be to make an effort to build your product the right way. When working with valuable assets and IP it’s very important down the line. Not cutting corners and building your product the right way will stand to you in the long term. You won’t regret it.