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Inside DELTA: 5 Questions with Drew Davidson

Photo of Drew Davidson inside the CTI lobby
Drew Davidson in the CTI lobby. Photo by Nicole Hazelett.

For the past nine years, Drew Davidson has been an integral part of the applications development team at DELTA.

Davidson is a senior web developer and has been involved in numerous key projects over the years. He was one of the main developers of WolfWare and continues to enhance and update various web applications.

After completing his master’s degree in computer science at UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson held software industry jobs around the Triangle before joining DELTA. “I made a lot of friends in the area, and luckily it is a cool place in the country to be for technology,” said Davidson.

How would you describe your position to someone unfamiliar with DELTA?

“I always tell people that I write web applications that assist with the administration of distance learning and testing services. Students and administrators then use those web sites at our testing centers and also across campus. The main application that I develop and support is the Proctoring Administration web application used by the DELTA testing centers,” said Davidson.

What has been your most recent favorite project you’ve worked on?

I’m currently working on a project that will help students with disability certifications manage them more easily when taking exams at our testing centers,” said Davidson. He created a new section of the existing Proctoring Administration web application to let students upload their disability certifications and allow administrators to easily keep track of the information. When students check-in to the testing center, their certifications will be on file.

“I am working with the administrators to figure out the best way to automate this process and to make it easy and error-free for students and administrators,” said Davidson.

What is your area of expertise?

My area of expertise is being able to listen to what users need, and then being able to translate that into a user experience that works best,” said Davidson. He noted he then enjoys going back to revisit and tweak things so everything works better.

“Many times it’s not easy to foresee what issues might arise, so continuous analysis of how software is actually being used is important,” Davidson explained.

With the Proctoring Administration web application, Davidson saw that the process for managing students’ disability certification letters was not working smoothly and created a solution to make it easier for administrators and students. “I definitely enjoy creating solutions that make other people’s lives easier!” said Davidson.

What makes your job special?

“What I enjoy most about my job is the people I work with. DELTA is lucky to have the most talented, positive, appreciative and helpful people,” said Davidson. A common theme among DELTA staff, Davidson values the collaborative atmosphere. “It’s fantastic to get another set of eyes to check out a problem with me or get advice whenever I need it,” he added.

Davidson likes creating something that will satisfy users’ needs. “It’s amazing to be able to instantly see the impact of the software I write and to get immediate useful feedback about it,” he said.

In addition to his day-to-day work, Davidson currently serves as the head of the DELTA Activities Committee. “I’ve been on the committee for a year and a half, and it’s a fun group,” he said. This year he organized TV Theme Trivia, a contest among DELTA staff based on TV theme song knowledge. Davidson noted many events are determined by tradition but he particularly enjoys the annual Dip Challenge where DELTA staff members bring a variety of dips for tasting.

“It’s fun at DELTA with the events but also with the food. Every time I go in the break room, there are doughnuts and cookies or something,” Davidson jokingly added.

What do you like to do in your spare time/outside of work?

Every Halloween and New Year’s Eve you can find Davidson at Humble Pie in downtown Raleigh spinning tunes. Davidson, a part-time DJ, has been involved with computer music and DJing for many years. “I had some friends who had turntables at their house, and I wanted to give it a try and just practice,” said Davidson. After that, he learned how to use DJ CD players and started doing side gigs around Raleigh.

At his main event on Halloween, Davidson enjoys seeing the eclectic costumes and people having a good time. He explained the event used to be called Skareeokee where Davidson was the DJ for karaoke but when that ended he stuck around to be the resident DJ on Halloween.  

“I like to stay informed about the music scene as well as music technology and the music streaming industry,” said Davidson.