1) Briefly describe your role. What are your primary responsibilities?
I spend a lot of my time collaborating with my team to reach the best tech solution for a particular problem we’re faced with. This involves specific tasks like design reviews, code reviews and big picture work such as refining the scope.
2) What are some bigger initiatives that you’ve been able to work on?
One big project involved our Inventory Lifecycles product. We recognized that the user interface had a steep learning curve, so the team decided to create a wizard to walk people through the process, step-by-step. We’ve received great feedback outside of our team, including from our customer facing Digital Advisors. That’s really exciting.
More recently, we were presented with a project to build out what we call a “Common Container.” Basically, it’s an infrastructure that allows different applications to come together having the same look and feel as one application. When we’re dealing with other platforms that use different languages across all of Dealertrack, the technical challenge centers around the question: “How do you provide infrastructure and tooling that works with all of them?” It’s a fun, challenge that I’ve been lucky to be a part of.
3) What’s one of the most challenging parts of your role?
It’s finding the work/life balance. Even though Dealertrack makes it a priority, I’m a very passionate professional and am surrounded by other passionate team members, all wanting to contribute more than we probably should. Having the ability to stop, put it to bed for the night, and begin again the next day is the most difficult thing I face and that’s all on me.
4) What attracted you to Dealertrack?
I went to school for my BBA – Bachelor of Business Administration, with 18 credits counting towards a technology focus. I completed my first year at Vermont Technical College and then took a few years off. Ultimately, I went back to school and finished my degree at Texas A&M International.
Prior to Dealertrack, I was a development manager at a different company. I had been pretty active in user groups, and had a few members from the Engineering team approach me about a position. Two major factors contributed to this decision:
- I had a friend convince me that talent here was amazing. I later found out, he was right.
- The other factor was that I wanted to work for an organization that was implementing Agile from the top down. I’ve been an Agile evangelist for years, but had only dealt with the “grass roots” approach – from the bottom up.
In October 2013, I joined the team and have loved it ever since.
5) What’s your favorite tech tool? How do you incorporate this into your workflow?
I really enjoying working with front end frameworks like Angular, and making ourselves more efficient with Grunt. We’re constantly pushing the limits on these technologies and exploring emerging technologies that may be a better fit. For example, many of us attended ng-conf 2015. Angular 2.0 is looking really promising.
6) What industry blogs, RSS feeds or technical forums do you follow?
7) I hear that you’re active in the engineering and tech community. Can you share more details?
It’s very important to me to be active within the community that I’m so passionate about. If you fall into tunnel vision, you’re unable to see the incredible things others are doing in the tech space. It’s an easy trap to fall into when you have a full-time job working with such intelligent people, but it’s essential to branch out and expose yourself.
8) What skills and/or technologies are you most interested in honing in 2015?
9) Anything else you would like to share?
It’s exciting to work with such talent. I feel lucky to work with really awesome, intelligent people, and a culture that embodies that.
10) Where do you want to take your career in 10 years?
Professionally, I want to mature UI architecture to where UI developers can spend most of their time on their business domain problems, and less time reinventing the wheel. I also want to mature our REST practices* so that services are more easily discoverable and evolvable.
Sometime in the next 10 years, I should find the time get my Master’s of Business Administration or Computer Science.
*REST (Representational State Transfer) practices help create scalable web services.