How did you get started in software engineering and why?
I went to a rural high school in Virginia. When I was young I was always interested in math and science and later loved classes like calculus and physics. I was interested in computers, but I didn’t know anything about it, and my high school didn’t offer any programming classes.
Either way I was interested in engineering and decided to pursue computer engineering in college. I got into MIT and enrolled in the computer science and engineering program. It was the hardest thing ever. There were students that have been programming for years, and I was brand-new at it. I had to rely on my peers in the beginning, struggled with it, got a lot of help, but eventually fell in love with the subject. It was definitely challenging, but I loved the idea of being able to create something from nothing.
What was your path to Localytics?
Right after college, I got a job at ESPN and stayed there for four and a half years. I worked in the Innovation group doing R&D and eventually moved to the mobile development group. I went to college in Boston, so I wanted to come back and join a startup. One of the recruiters I worked with put me in touch with Localytics, a company I was fairly familiar with due to ESPN’s partnership with the company. Then, I went through the phone screening process and on-site interviews. After talking to key people here and hearing about some of the problems they are solving, I knew it was where I wanted to work.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a project called Places. It’s essentially geofencing a particular area and associating that location with marketing campaigns and other analytics.
Do you have any side projects?
I have one big side project I’ve been working on for two years. It’s a social networking app called Flockery. The idea is that you create groups of your friends that correspond to your real-life social circles, which I call flocks, and then you use this app as a platform to discuss and plan your social encounters. Anyone can edit and add things to an event, such as polls, time, a location, and other details.
Side projects are encouraged here, and that was one thing that really struck me during my interviews. One of the interviewers told me that if we don’t have engineers or employees leaving the company in the next few years to start their own companies, we’re not hiring the right people. We want to hire motivated, high caliber people who may be founders one day. I love this culture at Localytics.
What's a fun fact about yourself?
I played football at MIT. My junior year I lead the nation in rushing across all divisions and nearly did the same my senior year. I was a 2-time All-American, and my story was featured on the cover of the USA Today. I wanted to go pro, so I went to a bunch of pro days and tried out but didn’t make any team, but someone at ESPN saw my story in USA Today, found out that I was a computer engineer, and thought ESPN would be a great match. They reached out, and I interviewed and got the job.
What does Localytics Engineering value?
Localytics Engineering values quality. Testing and code coverage are very important to us. We also do a great job of collaborating across disciplines and bringing in outside perspectives, which can be then used to solve problems. I believe that in addition to building a great product, maintaining accuracy and quality is equally important for providing the best service to our customers and their users.
What tools do you use everyday in your job?
Google, Stack Overflow, Slack, Xcode, Android Studio, Charles Proxy, Sublime, Genymotion.
Why do you take pride in working here?
I take pride in working here because our product helps to make better mobile apps. The experience of apps trumps most other experiences on the web and desktop. As a developer, I love the idea of building great experiences for people whether it be an ESPN app or Flockery. I like solving interesting problems so that the users can have a better overall app experience.
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