Aspiring architect or ad agency creative type landed his first real job as a software engineer just as he was wrapping up his undergrad studies.
What do you do? I lead software development at Artefact [a Seattle technology product design company] and am a hands-on developer at 10,000ft, a business software product built by Artefact Product Group. This means I’m involved in multiple projects at a time, usually in a multi-disciplinary role.
How did you get started? During the first year of college, I wanted to be an architect or a creative person at an advertising agency. Those jobs looked pretty cool and appealed to the right side of my brain. I couldn’t get into architecture school and didn’t really work hard enough on the ad agency idea (I did some freelance work), and ended up doing really well in computer science at school. I landed my first real job as a software engineer just as I was wrapping up my undergrad [degree].
What’s a typical day like? At Artefact, my role is split between being very hands-on creating 10,000ft versus planning and directing software-development projects at Artefact. This involves some frequent context witching — working on 10,000ft is like being a developer at a small successful startup. Leading software-development efforts at Artefact is more high level and adds a lot of business focus in addition to all the tech. The combination is a … unique opportunity where I get to stay current with technology and get to learn valuable business and consulting skills that I haven’t had the exposure to in my previous jobs in a classic development role. When I really need to be head down, I work from home.
What’s the best part of the job? Artefact wants all our team members to master their craft — and being a developer at heart, I get to stay very current with a broad set of technologies. At the same time, I’m getting a lot of business and creative design exposure. This is like going to business school and design school and getting a full salary, all at the same time. Plus, on clear evenings, I get to take a beautiful walk home along Westlake Ave.
What surprises people about your job? Many people, especially software engineers, don’t realize that design-driven technology companies, like Artefact, do amazing software-engineering work. We design and help our clients ship high quality software that is beautiful and delightful to use, regardless if it is a consumer product like a tablet user experience, or a business tool like 10,000ft.