Tumelo's Andrew Jones on the engineering experience at Tumelo
Author: Iskandar Suhaimi, Content writer, Tumelo
In this blog, Tumelo's VP of Engineering Andrew Jones shares his passion for software development and offers a close-up of the engineering culture at Tumelo.
Hi Andy, please introduce yourself and what you do at Tumelo.
Hi, I'm Tumelo's VP of Engineering and I oversee the company's engineering, IT, and security. The core of what I do at Tumelo is strategy: making sure the teams I'm responsible for have a clear vision of what we're working towards.
Another important component of my role is culture. I found an incredible culture when I landed in Tumelo, so as VP of Engineering I feel it is my job to nurture that high-performance culture.
I also oversee Tumelo's governance and compliance, making sure we comply with the data and financial regulations of the countries we operate in.
Looking at LinkedIn, you've held a lot of different roles throughout your career. Could you tell me what attracted you to software engineering?
I grew up when the internet was on the rise, so internet culture was very present in my early teenage years. And it was during this time that I first became interested in programming.
In my early twenties I started as a junior engineer and never looked back.
"I became fascinated by the boundless world of software engineering (as it seemed to me then) and thrived on trying to solve hard problems."
My curiosity continued to grow as the industry evolved from monolithic applications to distributed architectures. It’s a fascinating challenge developing technical designs for applications where there are multiple potential solutions and you have to weigh the trade-offs in security, performance, maintainability, cost and complexity.
As I progressed in my career and moved into leadership roles, the challenges shifted from being purely technical to people-related: optimising teams and workflows, building a culture of trust and autonomy, and working with the dynamics of different personalities.
It’s the continuous act of balance and rebalance that I love. This has continued to inspire me throughout the latter part of my career and I find it very rewarding navigating these pathways to empower people and teams to do great things at scale.
Could you give an overview of the different engineering teams in Tumelo and how they work together?
We've got seven teams within Tumelo's engineering function: data; vote engine; stewardship; retail; BI and reporting; platform; and security.
There is a lot of cross-team work at Tumelo, but some teams, by their nature, work more closely than others.
For example, the Data Team, who are responsible for automating the ingestion of large amounts of external data, work closely with the Vote Engine Team who rely upon that data to run a variety of operations and ultimately provide the core APIs that enable our service to operate.
The Stewardship and Retail Teams work to provide the interface to end users, managing a variety of backend services to make that happen.
Platform and Security make sure we optimise and keep the backbone of our technical operation running smoothly and securely — while also operating in a compliant fashion.
And finally, BI & Reporting is dedicated to generating meaningful insights from the large amounts of data that we hold.
Maintaining a collaborative space is really important, and we've tried to enable it on various levels. Not least by leaning into the DevOps principles and fostering a culture of high autonomy and trust.
What sets Tumelo's engineering team apart from those at the companies you've worked at before?
One of the most profound things that I experienced at Tumelo is that the teams operate with really high autonomy, high trust, and a commitment to want to do good things for the business, and for themselves.
And as an engineer, that's what a lot of teams who subscribe to the DevOps culture want to have, but fail to lean into enough. Teams own the end-to-end of their delivery and this nurtures a strong sense of ownership.
This blog is part of a series that highlights the amazing people working in Tumelo. If you're interested in joining the team, check out our We're Hiring page.