At Biosero, we know there is one surefire way to improve any laboratory automation system: better software. To help ensure that we offer the most robust, flexible, and user-friendly automation software available, we count on people like Andrew St. Yves, Director of Software Development. Now based in the UK, the California native holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Point Loma Nazarene University.
Q: What do you do at Biosero?
A: I lead three technical groups that together comprise the software development team: software engineering, QA, and engineering infrastructure. I provide direction and general guidance on how we do software development, in addition to managing and implementing processes across the whole group. I also provide guidance about best practices and set the standards for Biosero’s expectations in software development.
Q: How did you get on this career path?
A: A lot of people know what they want to do early on, but that was not the case for me. In college I spent time in ministry, life sciences, history, and computer science. I ended up with a history major and minors in biology and computer science. While I was there, I worked in computer labs fixing and repairing computers. I really enjoyed the puzzle aspect of putting those pieces together.
Q: What brought you to Biosero?
A: One of my history professors introduced me to David Dambman here at Biosero, and I joined the company as an intern in my last few months of college. After graduation I rolled that into a full-time position. What’s kept me here ever since is the problem-solving aspect of what I do. There’s always a new and interesting problem to solve. We also have a startup mentality, and I appreciate that.
Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about laboratory automation?
A: When people think robotics and automation, they think of huge factories with large assembly lines of cars. Lab automation is much more specialized and delicate than that. We’re moving cells from one instrument to another, and sometimes you have to be less efficient — slow the robot down so it’s not sloshing things all over the place.
Q: If you could automate anything in your life, what would it be?
A: If there was a good way to have an AI know exactly what I would say in a situation and put it in an email and send it, that would save me a ton of time.
Q: What’s your best career advice?
A: If you’re a software engineer starting out, do not stop learning. Actual, real-life development is not what it’s like in a university. The key to making the jump from theoretical to practical software engineering is just continuously learning. Whether that’s conferences, course work, or something else, just pick a couple of topics that you think are interesting and spend a few hours every week learning about them.
Q: What was the first thing you ever wanted to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to be a paleontologist! I was fascinated by dinosaurs and really wanted to dig up old bones.
Q: What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?
A: I played baseball growing up and had to quit in high school because I developed Osgood-Schlatter disease, a condition that causes pain in the knees.
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