Kevin Archibald is a senior developer at HHS’ Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) in the ICT Solutions Department. He has been at HHS for 6.5 years and works on the digital programs needed to track and manage research studies on a global scale.
What do you love most about your role?
PHRI is a working environment unlike any I’ve worked at in my career. It truly is unique in it’s pursuit of excellence. More than that, it’s a very supportive and positive work environment. We enjoy working together and know it’s for the greater good. I’d recommend it to anyone!
What do you find challenging about your role?
There’s no resting on laurels – we’re constantly striving to learn the latest technology, best practises and methodologies to deliver digital solutions to the research teams. Also, working in research is the most scrutinized environment for a developer. You have to be incredibly confident in the program that assists a study as it will eventually help reach scientific conclusions and research goals.
You have to be incredibly confident in the program that assists a study as it will eventually help reach scientific conclusions and research goals.
Describe a typical day in your role?
Our department is broken into tightly integrated teams of business analysts, testers and developers. Most days we start with a “scrum” – talking about our goals for the day and any roadblocks that stopped us hitting our expectations on the previous day. Then we go to work! We divide our weeks into “sprints” to hit our software releases. We might be releasing epidemiological study for Android tablets or a web system to do double blinded drug trials- we’re kept very busy!
Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS.
Sometimes as a developer, you can get a little disconnected with the effect your work actually has. But, every November the principal investigators tell us the results of world-changing studies that each of us have had a hand in providing digital solutions for, like COMPASS, PURE, HOPE3 and many others. We may not have direct contact with patients, so it’s nice to be reminded we’re making tools for studies that can save lives.
They’re always surprised to hear that this is happening right here in Hamilton.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about your role?
One thing I always look forward to is giving a talk to the Computer Science program at Mohawk College each semester. I tell them about the work we do and what it’s like to work as a developer at PHRI. The students are always surprised to learn that the tools we build allow researchers to run studies in every corner of the world and that we’re trusted to guard that data. It’s a big responsibility! On top of that, they’re always surprised to hear that this is happening right here in Hamilton.