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Raf Gemmail

Head of Product

Meet Raf - Our Head of Product

Raf is involved at many levels at Developers Institute. Whilst creating an enterprise-ready learning experience for students which - according to him - is ‘lots of fun’, he is also supporting the incredible crew of tech-leads aka instructors. Students and instructors have his full support and attention whenever needed to accomplish the projects they are currently working on.

His BSc Hon Computer Science and AI with study in Continental Europe at the universities of Birmingham and Pisa got him onto a journey to specialise in DevOps, Lean Product and Polyglot Development, but also to become fluent in Javascript/Node, Java, Kotlin, Scala, Python and Italiano.

Before joining Developers Institute

Raf is one of a kind and has some great stories to share from the early days of the internet taking off. From sleeping under his desk the odd night and having been the fourth developer at booking.com, during his career he has had some great teachers and can now be called comb-shaped.

This journey has taken him through a mix of cultures and places such as the UK, the Netherlands, Italy and now NZ. Throughout his career Raf has architected systems and led teams building fast and massive software systems for huge sites such as Stuff and BBC iPlayer. He also coached many top teams in Agile and Lean engineering practices, which is all about learning and improving. 

If you are curious what diverse projects you can be part of as someone who knows how to cut code, say no more:
  • Writing super fast code for the world’s largest investment banks where slow code costs millions of dollars

  • Growing one of the UK’s most visited and praised video streaming solutions: BBC iPlayer!

  • Building an early Enterprise Cloud for NTT

  • News editing for InfoQ, one of the largest software engineering sites

  • Organising DevOpsDays New Zealand

  • Helping digitise New Zealand’s parliamentary processes

This is some of the cool stuff Raf has and still is involved with!

There is more to our Head of Product than code

Raf is a firm believer in Software being about bringing smiles to the faces of people which is the reason why he enjoys his jobs so much. There is more to him than what your first impression may suggest and what you’d expect from a code-lover. 

A few fun-facts about Raf that will not only bring a smile to your face but possibly also make you scratch your head and wonder why you haven’t made it into the guinness World Record book yet:

  • His super powers relay around the ukulele and Git-fu, 

  • he broke the Guiness World record for the biggest choreographed hula-hoop dance routine on BBC’s Blue Peter 

  • as well as running Agile ceremonies out of the Beehive with ministers and the Cabinet Secretary!

...and if that’s not enough of a good conversation starter with him, maybe just try the good ol’ star trek chat! Didn’t do the trick either? Try icelandic horses, telescopes and star constellations