Richard Smith
15 Nov 2018



Software Engineer


​​​​​​​​​​​Richard Smith in his current role as Software Engineer


​What is your role?

I'm a Software Engineer at the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis. I develop code to create websites and the infrastructure behind them to assist the environmental science community. My main project at the moment is creating an index of information about our 188 million file strong data archive to make files easier and quicker to find.

How did you get into your job?

I left U​niversity with a first in Meteorology and Climate Science. My break came when I was offered a place on the Met Office Summer Placement scheme. Here I was given some code written in Python and R and was tasked with seeing if I could find a way to improve accuracy of a climate model. I spent 4 months there learning Python, R and exploring the data I had. 

After this, I worked at the Environment Agency and quickly established myself as an “I'll give it a go" type of person working on excel macros, GIS map plotting and simple Python scripts. Then in 2016 I was offered the position of Graduate Software Developer at STFC RAL Space.

​What's the best thing about your job?

It is challenging and always changing. I have lots of projects to work on which means I need to broaden my skills and learn new things. For example, I might be building a web interface using HTML, CSS and JavaScript one day, submitting scripts to a 4000 CPU batch computing cluster on another.

Why is it important you do what you do?

My work helps to improve the services we offer at CEDA which in turn helps the scientific community.

What advice would you give to people looking for a job in your industry?

Don't discount yourself based on degree or background. If you have a methodical approach and problem solving attitude then this is great for writing code. You don't need any formal training; you can be self-taught. We are all continually learning.

Is there anything you wish you could tell your younger self now?

Don't be afraid to cast the net wide when looking for jobs. You don't always need formalised training in something. Sometimes passion and the right kind of thinking are better as there are no pre-conceptions of “the right way" to do something. 

Richard Pottery.jpg

​​​​​​​1999- The year I wanted to be a potter​

Family Mountain Walking Wales.jpg

2013 - The year I ascended another Welsh mountain, furthering my passion for the natural world​

Richard Graduation.jpg

2015 - The year I graduated with a degree in Meteorology and Climate Science.