Meet the Team: Q&A with Dave Downs, Technical Lead

13 February 2022

Dave is an experienced web developer, he’s been working at Condatis for over 3 years and is responsible for developing Microsoft Azure B2C solutions for our clients. For some of us non-technical folk – what does it mean to be a technical lead? What does that look like in terms of projects and day-to-day work?  

Dave Downs, Solutions Architect at Condatis

I do whatever needs doing, which is mostly, if not exclusively, B2C projects for clients that need a customer identity & access management implementation and integration with their CRMs, data stores, external identity providers like Azure Active Directory, social identity, and other various services. Our team works on bringing all that together into one authentication system and my role at the moment is largely architectural, so doing loads of diagrams, documentation, explaining things, and helping out with user stories. I collaborate with other developers on technical designs, often looking at all components and their connections from a security point of view. I also help prepare proofs of concept for our clients, which involves putting together representative versions of larger systems.  

I’ve been responsible for promoting standard ways of working, because even though all development teams are broadly using the same technology (.NET, ASP.NET for APIs, Azure resources, B2C, etc) there are some differences, right? So together with one of the other technical leads, Nick Young, and with input from the senior devs, we’ve been working on establishing a standard approach to developing projects, documenting it, and creating templates that we can then reuse. This means that when we’re starting a new project, or adding something new to an existing project, we have a library of resources we can draw from.   

In summary, I do any technical work that needs doing and I try to drive us all towards a standard approach of working. Mostly… 

I drink tea and I know things. 

I get the Game of Thrones reference! So how do you make that famous tea, are you willing to share the secret recipe?  

I’m partial to a ‘Baby tea’ with quite a lot of milk and two sugars.  

The official (Dave) way to make it is:  

  1. Take a cup,  
  2. Put the teabag in,  
  3. Add two sugars,  
  4. Pour in the milk in to cover the sugar,  
  5. Add the boiling water,  
  6. Wait (mash the bag a bit) 
  7. And that will give you a proper cup of tea.   

Or at least, you know… a baby tea with two sugars in it.  

I love it, this is how programmers live their lives, with a set of instructions! So, I’ve had a look at your LinkedIn and your career journey so far, from software to senior developer, and now a lead. What part of your job brings you the most satisfaction?  

Titles and roles on my CV don’t matter that much to me, even as a junior developer I was helping to design systems and build them out, I think at every job level you can help design structures and get involved with the wider development process, you don’t need to feel constrained by your job title.   

I enjoy building stuff and as long as I’m not doing the same things over and over, then that’s fine. I think if you’re constantly writing the same system or components over and over and over, then that implies that there’s probably a better way of doing it. So, I’d rather spend the shortest amount of time on repetitive things and focus on writing something more interesting, i.e., building and developing new systems and solutions. In a business sense, those are things that you can build once and reuse so you can focus on what makes your company unique.   

That does make a lot of sense, now I have a round of ‘Rapid Fire’ questions for you, are you ready? GO!   


Rapid-fire questions  

  • What have you read/watched/listened to/played lately?  

The other week I binged watched both seasons of Timeless and now I’ve moved on to season 2 of the Witcher. And as for computer games, at the moment I’m playing through Ghost of Tsushima. 

  • If you weren’t a Technical Lead, what would you do? 

 I can’t really think of anything I’d rather do instead, computers are just what I do.   

  • What is the best thing about working for Condatis? 

Everyone is very easy to work with, no matter what you’re doing. Whether it’s technical stuff on non-technical stuff. Everyone from management to developers are all open to collaboration. 

  • What’s self-care/wellbeing for you; during lockdown and beyond?  

Fortunately, lockdown was okay for me. Being a reclusive software developer, that kind of put me in my element. I don’t think I did anything special to avoid burnout, just things like being aware when there’s too much going on and that it’s good to stop working for a while, so it doesn’t boil over. Then I try to take a break, focus on something else for a while and let it go. That, and play with the cats.   

Dave's cats
  • What are your cats’ names? Tell us a bit about them 🙂  

We’ve got two cats, who we adopted from RSCPA as a bonded pair. They’re two sisters, Ember and Smudge, both tortoiseshells. Ember is wiry, she’s got more blonde-brown-orange bits on her, which is why she’s Ember; and Smudge is a chonker and more at the black cat end of things, she’s still got all the patterns, but her feet are all jet black and she’s got one big smudge across her nose, which is why she’s called Smudge. They just turned 2 in January, and we got them at six months old.  


They are very sweet, thanks very much! 

Dave’s cats, Ember & Smudge


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