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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 also supports our incredible crew of instructors. Raf gives students and instructors his full support and attention to help them accomplish the projects they are working on.

He earned a BSc Hon in Computer Science and AI at the universities of Birmingham and Pisa. He continued his tech journey and specialised in DevOps, Lean Product and Polyglot Development. Raf is also 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 internet’s early days. He slept under his desk as needed and became the fourth developer at booking.com. Raf’s had some great teachers throughout his career 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. Raf has architected systems and led teams to build fast and massive software systems for huge sites such as Stuff and BBC iPlayer. He also coached top teams in Agile and Lean engineering practices, which is all about learning and improving. 

Check out Raf’s interesting projects:
  • Wrote super fast code for the world’s largest investment banks where slow code costs millions of dollars.

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

  • Built an early Enterprise Cloud for NTT.

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

  • Organised DevOpsDays New Zealand.

  • Helped digitise New Zealand’s parliamentary processes.

There is more to our Head of Product than code!

Raf is a firm believer that software is about bringing smiles to people’s faces, which is why he enjoys his jobs so much.

Here’s a few fun-facts about Raf that might make you smile and scratch your head simultaneously:

  • His superpowers are the ukulele and Git-fu.

  • He broke the Guinness World record for the biggest choreographed hula-hoop dance routine on BBC’s Blue Peter.

  • He ran Agile ceremonies out of the Beehive with ministers and the Cabinet Secretary.

Feel free with him about his myriad experiences. He’s also keen to talk about Star Trek, Icelandic horses, telescopes and star constellations.