What is a Discovery Developer? Decoding technical jobs

What is a Discovery Developer? Decoding technical jobs

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Technical job titles like Discovery Developer can be hard to understand and that’s why we decided to decode them via a regular blog column. The goal of these articles is to inspire, encourage young generations but also boost diversity in our sector. Today we’re excited to be talking to a colleague José González Gómez from another Rakuten Group business – Rakuten TV. Thanks for chatting to us José!

Discovery Developer: José González Gómez

Tell us about being a Discovery Developer?

Well, here at Rakuten TV we intend to bring the cinema experience to the home of our customers. That means making a heavy investment in TV platforms. But let’s face it, smart TVs aren’t usually the best place to discover new content due to their limited interface. To overcome that, Rakuten TV also offers what it calls the discovery platforms. You may access Rakuten TV through our web or mobile applications. These platforms may not offer a proper home cinema experience, but excel at content discovery. This way you can easily browse our whole catalog. And watch trailers and purchase or rent content that you may later watch in your 60” 7.1 surround home cinema system with some freshly made pop corns with your whole family. 😉

What’s your typical daily task?

I’m in charge of the iOS mobile application. My daily tasks involve ironing out current bugs, improving the test coverage of the legacy code, refactoring the existing code and implementing new functionalities required by the product owner. In summary, my job is about providing the best possible user experience in the iOS platform. So our iOS users can easily discover new content to watch, while lowering its total cost of ownership.

What’s exciting about your job?

Well, in what other job could you watch movies during work hours without being fired? No, seriously. Rakuten TV is trying to re-define the cinema at home experience, and it’s great to be a part of that. Apart from that you could read my answer to Why do some people like programming? In Quora to understand what programming means to me and why I love this kind of job.

What’s most difficult?

Many people think that programming is about telling the machine what to do. But programming is about telling other people (including your future self) about what the program does. This way they can later easily change it or evolve it. So probably the most difficult thing about the job is first to be able to understand what was in the mind of the previous developers of the application in certain areas of the application not enough covered by tests. Secondly to tell your story as clearly as possible so people coming after you (including your future self) can easily evolve the application with the lowest possible cost. That, and all the gibberish about encodings, digital rights management and the like

What kind of training and skills you need to become Discovery Developer?

It depends on the platform you’ll be working on. Basically it revolves around Ruby and Javascript for web, Java for Android and Objective-C and Swift for iOS (of course with a good amount of third party tools and libraries in each platform). I would add a good amount of experience writing crystal clear code. Also almost obsessive mindset about covering as much code as possible with tests. And all of that salted with a bit of obsession for the detail to make the interface as friendly as possible for the final user.

How do you think your job will evolve in the future?

Wow, I always say that I would have loved to take a crystal ball fortune teller course in the Computer Science degree to solve some of the most puzzling bugs I come upon. I could have made use of it to answer this question 😉 I really don’t know but I have certain things in mind that I’d like to happen. For example, adding the Apple TV device to the list of our platforms. Or helping to add big data and artificial intelligence techniques to provide the best personalised content to our customers based on their viewing history, so they just have to open our applications to discover their next preferred movie.

What makes a Discovery Developer laugh?

A lot of things! We have several recurrent jokes in the office. For example, whoever leaves his/her computer unattended and unlocked usually “invites” the whole technology team to have some beers on him/her through the work chat.  Another recurrent joke involves making Amazon packages disappear (yes, we are addicted to Amazon). In a twist of the joke I once made a co-worker believe that one of my packages had been stolen and I thought he was responsible for it. My performance was so convincing that I later had to apologize because I felt awful for making him feel so worried. But what really makes my day it’s a good tickle war with my sons. 😉


If you like our column, why don’t you check our last articles where we decoded Creative Technologist, Back End Developer, Front End Developer, Graphic-User Interface DesignerProduct Owner and Digital Publishing / Graphic designer.