It’s time for the next installment of Meet the Innovators, Octo’s series that features the thinkers and doers who make innovation happen at Octo. Whether working at our R&D facility oLabs™ or at a customer site, our employees bring the best in technology solutions to help Federal Government agencies and organizations solve complex problems. Today we are interviewing Babatunde “Tundey” Akinsanya a Senior Systems Design/Architecture Engineering Manager who supports the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) SeaPort program. Tundey has been with Octo for going on six years.
Tundey, welcome to Meet the Innovators! We are happy to hear from you today and learn a little about how you approach your work with NAVSEA. Let’s start by talking about your typical day. What does that look like?
It really varies depending on the day. Most days start with a daily Scrum with the rest of the team and then followed by either working on new features or troubleshooting issues from the production system. My official role is tech lead for the team, but I also support some of the systems we use for development. That means some days, I’m writing/reviewing custom code/designs for our solution and other days, I’m applying security patches to tools like Jira and Bitbucket. And yet on other days, I am responding to a query from an FBI agent about attempts to access our Jira server from foreign IP addresses!
Excellent. Thank you. Now let’s move to the more specific. What is one project or work challenge you have taken on, and how are you approaching/overcoming it?
One recent project I took on was leading the migration of data from a retiring system into a new system we created for the Navy. That might not sound like a big deal, but the old database had close to 1TB of data that had to be analyzed, reshaped, and migrated into the new system. We used a lot of custom SQL (16K+ SLOC) and PowerShell scripts to migrate the data.
The data migration was completed just over three days in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic with team members working remotely. This was definitely a challenge, but having existing infrastructure in AWS cloud enabled our team to transition smoothly to remote work. The data migration was a success, with all data successfully moved to the new system.
It sounds like you are using some cutting-edge technology and processes that require innovative thinking. So tell us, when you think of the word “innovation” in terms of your work, what comes to mind, and how are you helping the customer “jump the technology curve,” as we say at Octo?
Due to the secure nature of our project, bringing innovation to the DOD is a bit tougher than it’ll be for a non-DOD system. Part of the challenge is finding tools and technologies that are innovative and fit within the security constraints of the DOD. We have done this successfully, and I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished as we integrate more and more innovative solutions and secure technologies.
As far as trying to help the customer jump the technology curve, I approach this from two angles: finding new ways to use our existing approved technology stack, and finding new technologies to use on the project. For example, for a few years now, I’ve been doing something I call “this or that” where I reimagine an existing feature in our solution and solicit feedback from internal stakeholders (product owner, Scrum Master, helpdesk team, etc.). I give them choices, asking them to pick “this or that.” Occasionally, these become features that we build and release to the customer.
Thank you for that, Tundey. Last question, and this is for our newbies. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your position?
Try to learn as much as you can about everything: the solution you’re working on and the domain in which your solution will be used. In my experience, developers do not spend enough time learning about the domain. Knowing the domain helps in creating solutions that will be more readily adopted by the users.
Second, don’t be afraid to take chances. Tackle bigger and more complex problems. Make yourself indispensable. Opportunity to grow is there. You just have to take advantage of it.
Are you seeking a career where problem-solving and innovative thinking are key to customer success? Visit Octo’s Careers page. We’re hiring technologists and support staff at every level, and you’ll work with experts like Tundey. Veterans, start your search here.