Understanding APIs with Ania

APIs are mentioned everywhere in tech, but it’s an acronym many of us don’t really understand. Feeling confused? Worry not: our resident API expert Ania has promised to make it super simple for us...

APIs make a huge difference to businesses of all shapes and sizes as they tie together important functionalities and systems. APIs, then, are what make our modern world tick. But what does that mean in practice?  

We sat down with Ania Szczepaniak, Solutions Engineer and API expert at Spirii, to understand what an API is – and why they’re so important.

First, let’s start with the basics…

What is an API?  

First of all, API stands for Application Programming Interface. But in simple terms, I’d describe it as software that allows two ends of a solution to communicate with each other – like a middleman.  

The two ends might, for example, be you as a customer on one end and the Spirii platform on the other. I really like the example that I learned the concept with:   

Imagine a restaurant. There’s a kitchen (one end) and a room for guests (the other end). Without a waiter, these two ends can’t communicate what they need. So the waiter is the middleman that allows that communication back and forth.

For example, imagine a guest wants to get a Hawaiian pizza from the kitchen. The waiter takes the request and, as a response, comes back with the desired pizza. The waiter is the API here – they’re facilitating communication between the guests and the kitchen.  
What are APIs? Ania fra Spirii will make it super simple.

In essence: an API allows users to communicate and perform actions within whatever system they’re connecting with.    

Why are APIs valuable to businesses and our partners?  

APIs are super interesting because they can be used in so many different ways.

We as a platform can use them to expose the specific kinds of information you wish to use, and that information can then be implemented in so many different ways to transform your business and workflows.  

Because of that, APIs are great for operators and individual companies that want to operate a smarter business. If, for example, it’s essential for you to work with data, build your own functions, integrate systems that work together, and automate your daily tasks, then you should definitely have a look what the Spirii API capabilities.  

And, because APIs enable flexibility, if our partners have more bespoke requests then we’re always happy to develop according to those.  

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What does working with an API on a day-to-day look like?  

I sit with the Engineering team, but my aim is to bring knowledge to two sides of the company – the one that speaks human and the one that speaks computer.    

My day-to-day starts with check-ins to see if anything new needs to be prioritised. And then tasks usually vary between:  

  • Sourcing the right data in the API to solve a customer issue
  • Collecting new use cases around what we should solve next using our API and ideation for the next version
  • Having various conversations and meetings with teams across the organization
  • Documenting all things API – and helping everyone in the company work with it as easily as possible  

And then I have to focus on a few other things in my other projects!  

I’ve only been in the company for 3.5 months, but every day here still feels new!

What do you like about working with APIs at Spirii? 

I’m quite exited about all the new cases that we’re currently working on supporting! Also, Spirii is right at the heart of the EV charging industry. It’s very new to so many and growing super fast, so it’s impossible to be bored. I like it very much, it’s that simple!

And just one more question before we let Ania go…

How did you come to work with APIs in the first place?   

My education was all about the crossroads of business and engineering, and that introduced me to APIs. I worked in environmental compliance – which was heavily reliant on making reports – then I moved to Tech support, focusing on the API in fin-tech.   

Now I’ve moved into the EV charging industry with Spirii where I work as a Solutions Engineer, meaning that I bridge the gap between the development team and all our commercial teams.    

Interested in joining Ania in the ever-evolving EV industry? Have a look at Spirii’s career options:  
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Thank you very much to Ania for her time – and for clueing us up on the world of Application Programming Interfaces.

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