George Donohoe has worked at AB Dynamics for over 35 years as a Software Developer. He was part of the initial group of employees who worked out of Tony Best’s front room before moving into offices in Bradford-on-Avon.
What is a typical day like for you?
Over the last 10 years, I have been mostly focused on embedded software and writing the code that is used in our various in-car devices.
What inspired to you to pursue a career in Software Development?
At university I studied Theoretical Physics and I took part in an optional summer course at the university to get an introduction to mainframe computing. I found it fascinating, and then proceeded to spend far too much time playing around with ZX80s, Spectrums & 68000 based machines, which were just becoming available as consumer products.
How has your role developed over the past years?
Over the 35 years I have been working for AB Dynamics, I have been involved with a range of different projects and developments, but every day there is a new challenge and a new problem to solve. I initially joined to write in-house code to support the engineers, whilst working out of Tony’s back room. At this time, being able to write code wasn’t a skill that everyone had. As time progressed, I started writing code for bespoke one-off products for customers such as Peradin & Land Rover. Over time these evolved into more general DOS based software suits such as Cards, Vibas & Plato etc that could be sold to multiple customers. Each new project brought a host of new challenges which has kept my role interesting throughout my time at AB Dynamics.
What advice would you give someone who wanted a career in Software Development?
As my degree was not focused on either hardware or software, it very much meant that I picked it up my skills and knowledge through my experiences at AB Dynamics. The best piece of advice I could give someone looking for a career in Software Development is to be adaptable.
What has been your career highlight whilst working at AB Dynamics?
Part of the joy of working here is every day there is a new challenge, a problem that needs to be tackled or a requirement for something totally new arises. AB Dynamics is a forward-thinking company, having survived many financial downturns which left millions unemployed – this shows Tony Best’s perseverance to steer through these and many other trials and tribulations to make AB Dynamics one of the world’s leading specialists in automotive test systems. Another career highlight has been the opportunities to travel globally, such as my trips to America & Europe to install Plato (end of noise production for gear boxes).
How has AB Dynamics changed and adapted over time?
Well, we’ve grown obviously – but then so has the everything else! When I started we would answer the phone with “Hello, Bradford-on-Avon 7575”, which sounds like something out of an old British WW2 movie!
The main services we used to offer, consultancy & product testing, are much less prominent now than they were initially. The company’s main focus has changed to developing specific products to suit the changing market.