Howdy! My name is Keith Weightman. I’m a Senior Software Developer (and Man of Mystery) here at Think Through Math. I have been programming pretty much since I was around 12.
Dig that C64!
Well I mostly played games, and only dabbled in code. Things got serious when I double majored at UPJ in math and computers, which turns out is a great fit for working here at TTM!
So what does it mean to be a “senior” developer? Well basically since I have experience on many programming languages, many databases, many development processes (I even go back to the waterfall model) - I have seen many scenarios and design methods that work and don’t work, and can advise as such going forward.
At TTM, being senior can sometimes just mean older! Back in 2012 our CTO Jim Wrubel chose to take our team, and company, in a different technical direction. The conversation went something like this:
Jim: “So Keith, you know how we hired you 6 weeks ago to do .NET and SQL Server?”
Keith: “Ah, yeah?”
Jim: “Well we decided to take a different technical path. We are going to convert everything to a Ruby on Rails app with a Postgresql back end. You in?”
Keith: (After wondering what Ruby on Rails was). “Sure!”
Jim’s wise decision meant many changes and challenges for TTM and myself:
TTM closely follows a ROWE management strategy. This is based on results, not necessarily focusing on how you get there. You can have more flexible work hours, but you also sometimes need to work at non-typical times and places. This is rare in Pittsburgh, and I am blessed to be a part of it, as I am divorced with 2 children and have a complicated non-standard home life. All my previous positions were a standard east coast 9-5 type of day. Time for me to adapt.
I’m more comfortable with tightly coupled languages where the compiler forces syntax. RoR is loosely coupled, not so much compile checking, and components know little or nothing of other components . Time for me to grow.
The Ruby community strives and excels as an Open Source community. It’s a simple effective mindset - “Share with others what you love to do”. What’s this Open Source thing you say?
I came from the opposite mindset (Department of Defense, Seagate) where they want you to hide and secure your great work so no one can steal it. This is the most challenging change for me, but guess what? Time for me to change.
- I didn’t know Ruby! We hired many incredibly awesome developers who are familiar with Ruby and the Open Source style. So I’m the old dog now learning new tricks from these young spring chickens! Fortunately, I don’t have much pride and am happy to learn from them. Time to learn!
It’s been a year or so and I’m still changing, and a little more “senior” than I was when Jim and I had our talk. As you will find out if you take a career in software development, things are always advancing. Being “senior” means you are always growing, always adapting, always learning, and often changing!