Meet the Aries Team: Antony Gnanapiragasam, Software Engineer III

Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you been working for Aries? What did you do before joining Aries?

I joined Aries in February 2022 as a Senior Business Systems Analyst in the Engineering department, undertaking a crucial role to bridge the Product Management and Engineering teams on XML technologies. I hold a Bachelor of Commerce from Loyola College and a Master of Computer Application from the University of Madras. With a career spanning approximately 26 years in the STM domain, I have held various roles including Conversion Instructor Analyst, Programmer, Senior Programmer, Project Lead, Product Manager, and Solution Architect. My most recent tenure as Solution Architect at Dartmouth Journals Services DBA KnowledgeWorks Global Ltd led to the successful implementation of high-impact tools such as ArticleExpress (Online Proofing Workflow) and ePage (Automated Pagination Layout PDF integrated with peer review systems).

What have your roles at Aries been?

After Aries shifted development strategies, I transitioned fully into the Engineering team as Software Engineer III position. In my current role, I support the Targaryen agile development squad by coding, updating existing features, and developing new features, as well as providing specialized support for LaTeX, XML, and Word-related development items.  

How have your previous roles helped you in your current position?

In my previous role at DJS/SJS/KGL, I developed the Artemis API, cover XML, and EM return packages for several customers to integrate with the EM/PM systems. I was familiar with Editorial Manager (EM) and ProduXion Manager sites, article submissions, production tasks, scheduling groups, and assignments. I had weekly meetings with the Aries CS/Product team and ASCO/ASCE/AMS customers. When I started at Aries, I already knew the external functionality and user interface of EM/PM, which facilitated a smoother transition.

Most of my prior experience involved working on submissions post-acceptance. Now as part of the Aries team, I focus on functionalities before submission acceptance. My extensive experience with Artemis (Production Tracking System), ArticleExpress (Online Proofing Workflow), and ePage (Automated Pagination Layout PDF integrated with peer review systems) provides the technical knowledge necessary to excel in EM/PM. 

How do you stay up to date with customer needs (and/or industry trends)?

I stay updated with technology and scholarly publishing by reading articles/news and attending conference presentations. I always test or verify technologies before recommending or using them, often participating as a beta tester for new software releases. For understanding customer needs and solutions, I typically brainstorm with peers and the Targaryen squad – considering multiple options and gaining various perspectives to ensure no customer needs are overlooked.

Tell me about your department and the people you work most closely with.

As part of the Aries Engineering team and Targaryen squad, I work closely with Product Owners (Pos), Quality Engineers (QEs), and other Engineering members daily. Our collaboration includes Agile meetings such as scrums, sprint planning sessions, retrospectives, and quarterly planning. We also hold ad-hoc meetings or huddles with Targaryen team members for issue resolution and knowledge transfer.

How do you collaborate with other departments within Aries?

Our collaboration with other departments is driven by shared project goals and objectives. We recently migrated Asynch 1.0 from a legacy datacenter to a cloud environment, holding productive sessions with TIO team members to set up Azure and AWS environments for the Asynch project. The Targaryen team worked continuously with TIO, DB, and CS to complete the project on time.

Describe your typical workday.

A typical day for me starts with checking Slack messages and emails, followed by reviewing agile board tickets. Depending on whether the ticket involves a spike, a bug, or new features, I may spend time coding, researching, or unit testing my completed code. I usually call for ad-hoc meetings with my teammates if I’m stuck on coding or testing. I can plan and prioritize my work based on sprint planning and prefer to do my coding in the late afternoon or evening when there are fewer meetings.

What do you most enjoy about your job? What do you enjoy most about working for Aries?

I find joy when a functionality or feature I created is implemented in live environments and used by all end users. Another enjoyable aspect of my job is brainstorming with the Targaryen team and providing out-of-the-box solutions or multiple options for a single issue.

What are you currently reading, listening to, or watching?

While working, I listen to old tamil melody songs. I am a fan of all sci-fi series like Star Trek, Stargate, and The Expanse. Recently, I’ve been watching Beacon 23 and Silo.

Tell me about some of your hobbies/interests outside of work.

Outside of work, I binge-watch TV shows/series! My weekends are filled with chaperone duties, taking my kids to their games and back.