Behind the Screens: Davy Daenen

2017: the highlights
21st December 2017
Behind the Screens: Steven Mertens
21st March 2018
davy daenen

davy daenen

Meet Davy, software developer at Avola Decision

Hi, I’m Davy, 23 years old and software developer at Avola Decision. I was born in Sint-Truiden, a Belgian city known for its fruits and blossomy biking roads. Currently, I still have the benefit of living at home while my girlfriend is studying in Leuven, so we have plenty of time to find our next place together. Besides, the commute by train from Sint-Truiden to Leuven is great (if there's no snow on the tracks, of course).
I studied at the Hogeschool PXL in Hasselt, where I graduated with a bachelor's degree in applied computer science.
As for my hobbies and interests? I enjoy good food and drinks, playing videogames, going to the movies and concerts, listening to music and playing the guitar, amateur snowboarding and hiking.

What is your role in the organisation?

I am a software developer which means I implement new features into the Avola Decision platform and maintain the existing code aka fixing bugs. These features can include writing code for the frontend or backend so called “full stack”, implementing an Azure feature (and learning about Azure in the process) and lately implementing DevOps related features. I’m interested in the entire process of developing an application.

Working at Avola Decision

Why did you choose to join the Avola Decision team?

When I was about to graduate, I knew I wanted to develop software for a company whose app or software I was genuinely interested in, and where I could learn a lot. When you graduate in computer science there is quite a big pool of companies that want to hire you as a consultant. But I wasn't really feeling the culture of those bigger companies. This led me to Avola Decision. I met a recruiter who actually listened to which programming languages I liked and what I was looking for. I still had to take exams in January and told him I hadn't graduated yet. While I was studying, he called me back and said, "I found a company I think will be a good match for you. Just check them out, I can set up a meeting if you want."
I went to the meeting and immediately knew this was where I wanted to have my first working experience. I didn't have to think long about this decision because Avola offered a great company culture, an innovative and modern software stack, great colleagues and with a new office in the centre of Leuven a great location too.

What do you tell people when they ask what Avola Decision does?

I always have two answers ready for this question, depending on the person asking.
When they barely know anything about software/technology or businesses in general, I tell them the following: “I do something with computers that can make very quick decisions.”
This often seems like magic and they don't ask for more details. But when they do, I continue with my second answer, the one I also use with people who do have a business or technological background. I tell them that Avola Decision is a platform where you can model decision logic in multiple tables. Based on what you put into that decision, you get an answer in a split second even though it may have gone through an enormous tree of tables.
I explain that these are decisions that you don't want hardcoded into software or written in a file somewhere, because they can change, and you want to have governance over this business logic. I also try to explain the value decisions can have and what you can learn from looking at these decisions and the path they took based on what you put into it.

Do you feel like you fit in well with the Avola Decision team?

Yes, definitely. The team consists of a group of quite different personalities but each personality adds something special to the team. It feels like a whole new family where you can laugh, speak openly and ask advice about anything.

What is the most challenging and/or rewarding thing about working here?

Like with all software products I think the challenge is to keep delivering a quality product in a fast (Agile) way but also to keep innovating the product. And of course, bugs will always occur, until perhaps one day software can write itself?
But the rewarding part is definitely when there is a release with not too many issues, and features our users value highly.

Each member of the Avola Decision team dedicates 10% of their time to corporate social responsibility. What have you decided to do with that time?

I volunteer as a teacher at Auxilia. They offer teachers for children, young people and adults who are looking for extra help to learn something and who are dealing with poverty. Over the years they've evolved towards an organization that is active in almost all areas where they can supplement the existing education. They cover free education/knowledge wherever needed.
Each Wednesday afternoon I help 2 Syrian children with their homework. A girl from the fourth grade and a boy from the second grade. For the most part I focus on helping them with Dutch: reading, writing, solving questions, and dictation. But the subject can change every week, depending on what homework they have or what they are struggling with. Last week for example we focused on learning the alphabet by heart since that was quite difficult for them.
They could already speak Dutch well, but they are continuously getting better at understanding the context of words or questions on an assignment. I really like volunteering as a teacher, and I intend to keep helping them until they no longer need it.
Find Davy on LinkedIn

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