Episode 79 – Focus In On The Needs Of The Business with Spencer Schneidenbach
Spencer tells us why it’s important to be able to experiment and why we should not undervalue the value of networking. Spencer also shares his worst career moment as well as some of his career highlights and talks about a few of the things that excite him about the future of the industry.
KEY TAKEAWAYS:[1.23] Phil asks Spencer to expand on the opening introduction. Spencer says that his interests lie in software engineering and architecture, and community involvement. He is currently a chief architect for a company called Ryvit who build integration software for the accounting and construction industries. [2.02] Phil asks Spencer for a unique career tip. Spencer talks about his very first development job where he was given room to experiment. If you have the ability to learn you should experiment with different things. It will help you to get started and to figure out what you love to do. [3.01] Spencer provides a second piece of career advice saying that you should focus in on the needs of the business and of the people within the business. It will help become not just a good I.T. professional but a good all round professional and put you ahead of those who only focus on the technical aspect. [4.11] Phil asks Spencer to share the story of his worst I.T. career moment. Spencer describes an early lesson in deployment which was of an anti-virus software package. Spencer pushed the software update out to fifty nodes thinking, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Five minutes later the accounting department were reporting that their computers were running slow. Spencer identified that something about the update was using up all the CPU time preventing users from getting any work done. Spencer learnt that everything you do has an impact in some way and that he should have started small, with one or two computers. [6.39] Phil moves the conversation on, asking Spencer about his greatest I.T. career success. Spencer responds saying that his current position is his greatest success. Spencer talks about his involvement in the creation of a product which continues to be used and is making money for the company. Spencer also talks about updating another software package to use Angular JS rather than web forms. It was rebuilt, from the ground up, making it easier for the end user and resulted in an increase in sales and bookings for the company. [10.37] Phil then asks Spencer what excites him about the future of the I.T. industry and careers in I.T. Spencer talks about machine learning and artificial intelligence saying that they are deep topics that have a lot of implications for the future. [12.12] Phil begins the reveal round and starts by asking Spencer what attracted him to a career in I.T. Spencer says that he grew up around computers and loved technology. But remembers saying, as a kid, “I don’t see myself working with computers as a career.” However Spencer fell into an I.T. career by accident when someone said “Doesn’t Spencer know something about computers?” [13.24] Phil then asks Spencer what has been the best career advice he has received. Spencer talks about the power of building relationships over that of building technical solutions. Get to know people on a personal level and what they care about. [14.14] Phil asks Spencer what he would do if he was starting his career again in today’s world. Spencer says that he would probably do the same again. The only thing he may have done differently is learn some algorithmic stuff earlier. [15.41] Phil follows up by asking Spencer about his current career objectives and Spencer says that he feels that he is working in the role he wants so his only goal is to continue to provide business value. [16.41] Phil continues, asking Spencer what non-technical skill has made the difference to his career. Spencer says that he believes it is empathy and being able to put himself in other people’s shoes. [17.59] Phil asks Spencer for a parting piece of career advice. Spencer says that we should not undervalue the value of networking. Go to meetups, talk to the attendees and the speakers. Get to know them and be willing to engage.
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