Team meeting

Meet the team – Rob Smith, full stack software engineer

29 March 2022 • Lauren Harding, senior marketing officer

On this month's meet the team, we meet Rob Smith, full stack software engineer at OpenAthens! 

Tell us a little about your role as full stack software engineer at OpenAthens

I work in the OpenAthens development team. My work involves improving our products for both our publisher and library customers.

I started out at OpenAthens as a service desk analyst where I focussed on helping our customers and partners to get the most out of our products. The experience I gained there was invaluable to me. I learned to understand customer requirements and how to practically support our products and services.

Rob Smith

What are your hobbies and interests

Although I’m very much an amateur, I really enjoy cycling. When in the office, I usually commute by bike. Between that and cycling for fun around Bristol and Bath, I’ve racked up more than 2,500 km over the past year.

Outside of that, I’m a fan of board games, and I try to read as much as possible. I recently read the complete works of Kurt Vonnegut, one of my favourite authors.

I also recently tried climbing at a climbing wall center for the first time, which was great fun!

What’s your proudest achievement?

Personally, the work I did for my university degree and the experience that I had doing so. Studying history, I gained lifelong research skills and made friends who I continue to value.

The first time that I contributed meaningful change to one of our products as a junior developer felt like an important professional milestone.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given or could give?

Not to overthink things, but to try things out and see what works.

Who inspires you?

This is the most difficult question for me to answer because I can think of far too many examples to be concise!

I’m constantly inspired by the passion and knowledge of all my colleagues who encourage and support me.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing our industry/ the customers we work with now and post-pandemic?

The impact the pandemic on work and academic culture, for example remote working, is not going to be fully reversed. Remote access to knowledge is more important than ever and is here to stay.

One of the biggest challenges will be extending federated single sign-on to library organizations and providers that haven’t previously offered this type of access and are also unfamiliar with the industry.

What do you think the future of the industry will look like?

Closely connected to my previous answer, remote access to content using federated single sign-on technology is going to expand massively. It’s likely to include a wider array of services and users, which is extremely exciting!

I’m fascinated to see the impact of new authentication technologies. If traditional passwords diminish in importance, we may see touch and facial recognition develop in this space. Especially as these types of authentication are already widely available to many people on their mobile phones.

How can we help?

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