Meet our People: Russell, Chief Software Engineer
Meet Russell Silsbury-Basey, Chief Software Engineer, based out of the UK, who has worked at Zuken for 21 years. He is part of the development team for eCADSTAR – the Internet-Connected PCB platform. A valued member of the Zuken family, Russell is not afraid to take on new challenges and often applies the motto of the Ironman competition, “Anything is Possible,” in his personal and professional life. Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with him, and I’m delighted to share his story.
My Passion for Software Engineering
Let me tell you how my passion for software engineering began. Software engineering has always been a part of my life. In the 1980s, I would manually copy the long list of codes from Atari User Magazine to run mini-games. The level of accuracy in copying a large piece of code was essential to play the games, and I would try to diagnose and fix problems when something went wrong. The latter still plays a big part nowadays. Over time, I learned how to work with many languages such as BBC BASIC, Pascal, Haskell, and later with C, C++, and Python. Currently, we use C, C++, and Python to develop CADSTAR and eCADSTAR.
My Role as a Chief Software Engineer
In my role as a chief software engineer, I am responsible for the maintenance and development of CADSTAR and eCADSTAR, developing and testing new, exciting, and innovative functionalities, both at the forefront of EDA and working with customer requirements. Being in a senior role, I play a considerable part in coaching other colleagues to develop their full potential. I also work in a liaison role with the Outsource Team in Asia, creating a viable bridge between multinational teams overcoming language and time-zone barriers. Teamwork is high on my list. Working together is how we achieve success. Two brains are better than one; it allows everyone to bring a different perspective, a view from a different angle.
No Such Thing as a Typical Day
No two days are the same in my role, and I have been here for around 5,000 working days! From day to day, my tasks will vary – some days, I might be working on developing new functionalities, while other days, I could be investigating a customer hotline call. I also might be looking at facilitating processes to allow people to work more effectively.
There have been many memorable projects in my time at Zuken. One that immediately comes to mind is the Redlining project for CADSTAR. We initially deemed this a complex project, but the user wanted a quick and easy solution to the problem. In the end, we made a marker on the PCB board and added some text associated with it. Customers praised the simplicity of use. Sometimes simple wins the day!
Triathlon Competitions, Lawn Bowls, and Raising Money for a Good Cause
I am a triathlete, and for the past several years, I’ve competed in the Ironman Wales triathlon. This year the triathlon was postponed due to COVID. However, I didn’t want my training to go to waste, so I entered a local triathlon called Outlaw Bowood. The event includes a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile half-marathon run. Even though this triathlon was half the distance of Ironman, it was a great experience, and I look forward to competing in the next Ironman.
I am also passionate about raising money for Multiple Myeloma, a form of incurable cancer. In honor of my sister, I’ve participated in a series of 7 endurance/extreme events and have, raising more than £3,000 so far.
On the flip side, I am a lawn bowls player. It’s a calm and serene sport requiring accurate throwing skills and devising strategies for the next move. This resonates with my role in the workplace, where I am always thinking ahead to achieve success on our various team tasks and projects.
Anything Else to Share?
I am deaf; however, this does not stop me from achieving my best. No challenges or obstacles are impossible; they just require more effort. And the effort comes more easily when you have the drive and ability to believe that you can do it.