Category News
Publication date
12 April 2024

Meet the Team: Backend Developer Jaime Seuma

Time to read 9 minutes read

Jaime Seuma is an agronomist turned backend developer, who hails from northern Spain. He lives in a beautiful part of the world, and when he’s not taking care of tasks for the Managed Services team, he literally heads for the hills.

Alison: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into the field of development? 

Jaime: I didn’t actually study computer science. I studied agricultural engineering and used to be an agronomist. My speciality was related to plagues and diseases – protecting trees from diseases. 

Traditionally we used to do this with chemicals but we have learnt that the fewer chemicals you use the better for everybody – from end-level consumers to the environment. 

At one point I had a portfolio of 40-odd farms to monitor and help farmers prevent plagues and diseases. That was interesting but I had another love: When I was a 16-year-old student, several decades ago, there was a subject at school called IT (information technology), and I enjoyed it. I was good at it. And it fascinated me. But then I went to university to study agronomy. 

At that time there was a fairly new development at the university: modelling the behaviour or progress of diseases and plagues using computers. I quit my job and went to Madrid to study C++. It was all the rage. And that’s how I got started. I didn’t have the opportunity to use it in agronomy, so I did a degree in information technology, and landed a job as a developer. And then the internet took over. I stopped using C++ and started to learn internet-related technologies, and never looked back. 

Jaime Seuma Picture

When Jaime isn’t in front of his computer he enjoys being out in nature.

Alison: Have you used your agricultural engineering degree since then? 

Jaime: No. I don’t even use it at home. I learnt about plants because some of the issues you fight as an agronomist are plants that steal the nitrogen that needs to be used by crops. I learnt a lot about weeds, which in itself is an anthropological concept – a plant can be a weed if it is in the wrong place. And I’ve kept that knowledge. I can identify many plants and that’s been useful. But I’m not interested in having my own orchard. People around here have almond and olive trees. I’ve helped them to harvest their crops but I don’t want to get involved with crop management. All of my knowledge is outdated now. And I don’t need more chores in my life.

Alison: Where do you live?

Jaime: I live in the Aragon region (in the administrative sense of the word) in the north of Spain. The town is called Santa Eulalia La Mayor. I live about 50km from the Pyrenees - the mountain range that separates Spain from France. 

It’s a microenvironment, somewhat cold, somewhat humid, that lies between the Pyrenees and the plains. It is beautiful in that it has been forgotten by everybody. Nature and wildlife are still a thing over here. There are amazing trails, eagles, Egyptian vultures... I am an ornithology enthusiast. I love to go bird watching.

The mountains near La Foz in Spain

The view from La Foz, as it’s known to locals, with La Atalaya (the old defence tower) in the background.

Alison: If you live so close to France, what’s your French like? 

Jaime: My parents' friends lived in France and I would go visit and it was French or nothing. I used to speak very good French back in the day but I haven’t spoken it for about 40 years, other than when I was in Tunis where I was amazed to discover that my brain could retrieve all my French. 

Alison: Can you speak any other languages? 

Jaime: I speak English, French, Spanish, Catalan and I started studying German. I used to travel a lot. I don’t any more. I want to live a peaceful life – which is not easy to attain, but I’m in a peaceful place. I’m a happy camper now.

Some stunning mountain scenery in El Huevo de San Cosme y San Damian

One of Jaime’s favourite places: the El Huevo de San Cosme, inside the Parque natural de la Sierra y los Cañones de Guara national park.

Alison: What are your interests outside of work? 

Jaime: Birdwatching, hiking, listening to music and reading. I never actually studied English, I learnt it by reading, so my conversational English isn’t as good as my reading English. 

Alison: What kind of books do you enjoy reading? 

Jaime: I read anything I can lay my hands on. I like reading in English. Haruki Murakami supervises the English translations of his books and has translated some of them himself. So I trust that the translations to English are very good, which is often not the case with Spanish translations. But I’ll read anything I can get my hands on, anything – Kate Atkinson, Raymond Chandler, Paul Auster... 

Alison: Paper books or Kindle? 

Jaime: Paper! Definitely not Kindle. I want to touch the books. Everyone is migrating to the digital world but I am not, for as long as I can. It’s still a nice experience. The only problem with books is that they take up a lot of room.

A view of Loporzano, with mountains in the background.

Loporzano, the main municipality in the region, with Sierra de Guara – the largest protected natural space in Aragón – in the background.

Alison: What do you do at Annertech? 

I’m a backend Drupal developer. The frontend is concerned with what a website looks like. The backend is all about functionality. And a fullstack developer does everything – setup, functionality and theming, styling. 

I don’t deal with frontend stuff. I like writing code, making things work. I can do JS and CSS to make the web pages look nicer. But I don’t particularly enjoy that. What I enjoy is writing backend code. And that's why I guess I ended up being mostly a backend developer. 

Alison: But you could do frontend work too? 

Jaime: I could…. But there are people who are better at it than me and it would be unfair to the client for me to be working on the frontend. I have wonderful frontend teammates who will do an amazing job in less time than me. 

Alison: How long have you been working at Annertech? 

Jaime: I started working with Drupal in 2015 but I wasn’t properly Drupalling until 2018 and I started at Annertech at the end of 2020. I wasn’t a noob in terms of Drupal when I started with Annertech but there was a lot of room for improvement and learning for me. 

Alison: Was there a favourite project or piece of code that you worked on? Could you tell us a bit about it?

Jaime: My first project at Annertech was to create a wrapper to allow for the next generation or Realex payments (now Global Payments) for our client Building Control Management System (BCMS).  It was challenging, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Another of my favourite pieces of code involved a webform handler for LauraLynn that needed to interact with a third-party service as soon as the form was submitted by the user. 

I had never done anything like that. It was a bit tricky initially because the webform submission is stored by Drupal but in the process it needed to retrieve a token from iDonate and then get it back to Drupal. 

I was surrounded by people who knew a lot, who’d been working on Drupal for decades. But at that point, for me, it was “wow”. In retrospect it wasn’t a big deal but I enjoyed figuring it out, and I levelled up without even realising it.

Alison: What does a typical work day look like?

Jaime: I work in the Managed Services team. That means we work with existing websites, not ones that are still in development. We work on many projects at once. It can get hectic, and the pace can be frantic. There are so many things to consider. 

This team monitors client issues, so clients let us know if their websites are experiencing any issues. Sometimes you can be allocated a client for the first time, and right there and then you need to learn about that particular project. 

We have a first responders division that takes care of the incoming “cards”, as we call them. Some are critical, urgent, and need to be taken care of there and then. It can be a juggle as you have cards from yesterday and the day before that you have to get done, but incoming cards that you need to deal with immediately. 

There are quiet days but there are days when the world seems to be falling apart for clients. That’s the typical work day for me. Some days can be crazy. I am a person who tends to agonise when things aren’t fully up to my standards and sometimes you don’t have that luxury because you don’t have the time for it. I am learning to manage it. Sometimes it can be a bit too much but I like it. 

I love my team, both professionally and as a group of individuals. There is so much to learn from them. I had some knowledge when I first landed in Annertech but that was three years ago and I see how I have grown. I am surrounded by an amazing team and I am constantly learning new things.

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Alison Visser Head of Content

After more than two decades in journalism, Alison now collaborates with Annertech's clients to ensure that their content is the best it possibly can be.