Learn how professionals in the tech
industry got to where they are today 
and what a day in the life looks like.

Cover Photo: 
Thumbnail Photo: 
Banner Color: 
#71c2cf
Career Path: Andy Sweezey, Sr. Engineer, Product Development at Owl Labs banner image

Career Path: Andy Sweezey, Sr. Engineer, Product Development at Owl Labs

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for a Sr. Engineer, Product Development at Owl Labs?

We connected with Andy Sweezey to find out!

Interested in working at Owl Labs? Check out all of the company's job openings on the list to the right!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in the town of Saugus, Massachusetts just nearby. My parents both worked in emergency services -- my dad as a police officer, and my mom as a Critical Care Nurse.

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I proudly attended Northeastern University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. One of the major benefits of my time at NU was the ability to get work experience in my field before completing my degree through the co-op program.

I  worked for two companies: a local division of a large connector company called Amphenol PCD and iRobot. After graduation, I returned to iRobot as a full-time engineer focused on floor care robots and continued to work there for five years. After leaving iRobot I joined Coravin, a company focused on changing the way consumers enjoy wine.  

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

There are many factors that came together to get to where I am today, starting with the support of my parents. They showed me that life-long learning, hard work, and a good attitude are the keys to a satisfying career.

Professionally, I owe much of my success to mentorship from the many engineers I've had the privilege of working with. Every project has been an opportunity to learn a new skill or gain valuable feedback from folks with different backgrounds and levels of experience.  

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Sr. Engineer, Product Development at Owl Labs?

At Owl Labs, I'm focused on all phases of hardware development for our product, the Meeting Owl. It’s a 360° smart conferencing camera that goes in the center of the conference room table and automatically focuses on people when they talk. The result is a remote meeting experience that nearly feels like sitting in the room with the team.

In my role, I coordinate with electrical, software, and mechanical engineering to create a product architecture that meets customer needs. I also develop the detailed mechanical design and assembly through collaboration with manufacturing partners and assist operations with the meticulous documentation of the bill of materials. Finally, I also work with quality engineering to ensure the product exceeds the reliability requirements.

Any tips for someone considering a career in Engineering?

Get involved. As a young engineer, a “no job too small” attitude will allow you to contribute in small impactful ways, as well as complicated and interesting projects. Each project is an opportunity to work alongside people with more experience so you can ask questions and learn new things.

Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Focus on failing fast, documenting what happened, learning from the experience, and moving on.


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

It used to be strictly tea, but lately, I've been getting on that coffee train. Fancy coffee and donuts near our office have definitely had an impact.

What time do you get into the office?

Something unique to the Owl Labs culture is that we live and breathe remote work and flexibility.  When I choose to work from the office, I usually arrive between 9:30 and 10:30 AM. When my to-do list and schedule line up, I often choose to work from home (or anywhere) to maintain a good work-life balance for myself.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

It’s easy to be motivated when working for an energetic, growing company. The satisfaction of delivering a robust product that delights the customer is top of mind. Another example is looking around at other departments and seeing how my contributions impact the team as a whole.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

The typical workday would start by checking for any messages from manufacturing partners that were sent overnight. From there, the day-to-day could vary from evaluating product or component samples, working in CAD to develop or iterate on a new design, building and testing prototype assemblies, reporting on design status and soliciting feedback. I wrap the day up by sending messages back to the manufacturing partner, keeping them up to date on progress made or changes in direction.

What time do you head out of the office?

I’ll typically head home between 6:00 and 7:00 PM. If I’m working from home, I simply wrap up when I’m done!

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I'll log back in at home for a couple of different reasons, but not necessarily every night.  Sometimes there’s a need to hop on a conference call with the manufacturing partner or support remote teammates by reviewing work or commenting on an ongoing discussion, especially if there’s a pending deadline.

Any productivity hacks?

The old fashioned to-do list is what keeps me organized and productive, but I’m open to suggestions!

What are the three apps that you can’t live without?

My favorites are Zoom, Slack, and Creo Parametric.

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

Product launches, quality improvements, and meeting schedules are all accomplishments to be proud of and celebrate, but nothing feels better than when a customer buys and likes the product you worked on.

We have thousands of successful customers who use the Meeting Owl every day, and I’m honored to be a part of that.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

It depends if the subject is professional development/culture or design, but in general, I lean on a network of former managers and colleagues when I get stuck.


Colin Barry is the Content Manager on VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

Images courtesy of Owl Labs

 
 
 

About the
Company

We build cutting-edge technology that creates deeply immersive collaborative experiences. 

View Company Page
Career Path: Kevin Elliot, VP, Inside Sales at BlueConic banner image

Career Path: Kevin Elliot, VP, Inside Sales at BlueConic

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for the VP, Inside Sales at BlueConic?

We connected with Kevin Elliot to find out!

Interested in working at BlueConic? Check out all of the company’s job openings on the list to the right.


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up south of Boston in Scituate, Massachusetts. My father spent the majority of his career in tech and about 15 years as the CEO of a few software organizations. My mother started and ran a pre-school in Scituate for about 20 years.

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

UMass Amherst. I studied managerial economics and finance. My first job out of UMass was as a Fund Accountant at State Street. They acquired Investors Bank & Trust in 2007 and I worked on the conversion team moving them over to State Street accounting systems. Looking back at those days there were a lot of long hours, problem-solving and implementing new processes. I kid around about it today, but other than the 40,000 employees. It was a lot like working at a growth stage software company!

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

There are a number of things at different points in time; however, the one constant has been the people that I’ve been fortunate enough to work with. They challenge me to be better every day, but you can learn a lot from your colleagues if you pay close attention and have an open mind.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as VP, Inside Sales at BlueConic?

  • Helping marketers realize that individualized marketing is a reality and helping them put plans in place to help them achieve a unified and actionable single view of their customer.
     
  • Coaching, hiring, and retaining exceptional members of our Business Development, Sales, and Sales Engineering teams.
     
  • Collaborating across departments to create and implement strategies for both inbound and outbound pipeline generation.
     
  • Analyze historical data and trends to build models for scaling our sales organization as efficiently as possible.

Any tips for someone considering a career in Sales?

Be incredibly curious and always focus on how you can improve. Regardless of how great the training program is at your current company, always look outside of your company to learn as well. I’d say the same to someone who has been in sales for 10+ years. New ideas and new approaches create good habits and prevent laziness or bad habits from forming.

Jim Collins speaks about “the window and the mirror” in his book Good to Great. The concept is perfect for people starting out in sales. If things are going well, look through the window and give everyone around you credit. If things aren’t going well, look in the mirror, take ownership of finding how to fix things. Far too often sales reps do the exact opposite.  


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee, one in the morning and another around 2:30 PM every day.

What time do you get into the office?

Usually between 7:30 and 8 AM.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  1. The people I work with. Their passion and work ethic are absolutely relentless.

  2. Knowing that we’re doing something different. No one has built this company, in this category, with these people. There are new challenges and new achievements every single day.

  3. The opportunity to help define the Customer Data Platform (CDP) category and helping change the way marketers think about individualized marketing.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

  • Before Work: I like to work out in the morning before commuting. During the commute, I run through my calendar to make sure I’m prepped for the day and then will run through the pipeline to make sure we have plans in place each day to move things forward.

  • Morning: Before 9 AM, I’m doing deeper analysis and tasks that require more focus. I try to most of my coaching in the morning so we can focus on statistics and I can focus on my team before too many distractions come up.

  • Lunch: I’m a creature of habit, most of my lunches are spent working at my desk and 9 times out of 10 it’s a salad from UDG or sweetgreen.

  • Afternoon: I’m almost always on sales calls with my team or collaborating with other departments in internal initiatives.

  • After Work: While commuting home I’m making sure any materials or information that I’ll need for the following day are prepped and ready or I’m making sure all of my action items for the day are taken care of.

What time do you head out of the office?

It really depends on what is in my calendar but usually between 5:30-6:30 PM.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I try really hard not to log back in every night, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. I probably log back on 50% of the time. I’m always available if one of my colleagues needs me via Slack or email.

Any productivity hacks?

  • Figure out what the best way is to organize your to-do list and commit to it. Some use tools like Trello and some use a notebook. Figure out what works for you. I’ve tried a number of apps, but always come back to my pen and pad.

  • Try to organize your day by when you focus best. I tend to be more analytical in the mornings and more creative in the afternoons. In knowing that I try my best to organize my tasks to optimize my day.

  • Music! Create a playlist that you listen to when you need to really concentrate and only listen to it while you’re focusing.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

  • Slack

  • Spotify

  • Food/Coffee Loyalty Apps: Starbucks, Dunkin’, sweetgreen

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

Watching people that I’ve coached and trained get promoted and excel in their new role is incredibly rewarding. I think my most proud accomplishment is still being developed. We’re writing an amazing story here at BlueConic. That story won’t be my individual accomplishment, but I’m extremely proud to be an element of what we’re building.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

There’s a long list of people that I have admiration for and who have helped me in various situations. A number of my good friends hold similar roles at relatable companies and often act as a sounding board. My father loves to share stories from his career and tie them back to what I’m working on. Lastly, my colleagues and team members at BlueConic have been an incredible resource.


Colin Barry is the Content Manager on VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

Images courtesy of Kevin Elliot

About the
Company

The world’s leading customer data platform, liberates companies’ first-party data by giving business users access to unified and actionable customer data that offers both confidence and utility whenever and wherever they need it.

View Company Page
Career Path: Nolan Kelly, Director of National Hospital Growth at PatientPing banner image

Career Path: Nolan Kelly, Director of National Hospital Growth at PatientPing

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for a Director of National Hospital Growth at PatientPing?

We connected with Nolan Kelly to find out!

Also, PatientPing is hiring! Click here for all of the company’s job openings!


Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?  

Boston College, Carroll School of Management with a Marketing concentration.  My initial job out of undergrad was at a consumer marketing agency in Boston. I was fortunate to align myself with one of the SVPs who was starting a healthcare practice within the agency.  Both my parents and my older brother are clinicians, so there was this innate interest in joining this emerging healthcare marketing group. I quickly got plugged into client assignments across health systems, pharma, payer, policy work, and medical devices.  I’d say that diversity of work was the catalyst for my desire to learn more about how these disparate areas all worked together to deliver positive patient experiences.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?  

In the first few years of my career, I had the opportunity to work for incredibly smart, committed, and hands-on leaders. I was young and impressionable, and they were willing to help me learn, bring me into many c-suite and senior executive meetings and strategic planning initiatives.  It forced me to mature professionally very quickly, exposed me to higher-level thinking, and definitely shaped how I approach business. It also had a lasting impression on my management style.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Director of National Hospital Growth at PatientPing?  

At its most basic level, I am responsible for building and managing the team that sells PatientPing’s solution to hospitals and health systems across the country.  We have growth goals to hit and I need to make sure the team is organized, aligned, and ready to achieve the goals. More broadly, I have the responsibility of helping inform our cross-functional teams about market trends, customer needs, product opportunities, where we should prioritize/invest, and more.  

Any tips for someone considering a career in sales for a high-growth organization?  

Step outside the concept of a comfort zone - you can’t have one if you want to be successful in sales for a high-growth organization.  Ask questions and be studious. Absorb as much as you can. Be flexible, courteous, respectful, and live up to your word. Every customer is different, every opportunity is different, and it’s your job to assess those dynamics quickly, pivot where needed, take punches, and solve problems.  Always take full accountability. On our Growth team, everyone has a specific job to do. If you can’t get it done, no one is there to do it for you. Lastly, find your own motivations and stay true to them. Success is binary - you either got it done or you didn’t - so you need to find wins and celebrate them along the way, it’s the only way to keep energy and optimism while moving forward.


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee, splash of milk. I generally stick to 1 cup a day.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  1. Building the team that’s going to win deals and build our customer network.  

  2. Helping the team win deals and build our customer network.

  3. Feeling the incremental progress each day that is contributing a much bigger mission.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

  • I have 3 little boys, so everyday starts by 6 AM with someone jumping on me in bed.

  • Once I’m awake, I’m on email and slack. I’m not really proud of that, it’s a bad habit. I prob do 10-15 min of work before getting out of bed.

  • When I can, I try to sneak in a few miles on the treadmill.

  • I live south of Boston, so I take the Commuter Boat up from Hingham. It’s some of the most productive time of my day.

  • Once in the office, it’s a race, my calendar is filled with meetings that support the growth of our team and business. I consider my commute time my “blocked” time where I get an hour at the beginning of the day and an hour later in the day to catch up on any open items.  

  • I try to sneak out of the office early so I can get home for dinner with my wife and kids.  This is one of the only non-negotiables for me. I’m going to get home to spend some time with my family and, at the very least, be a part of dinner and bedtime.  

  • Read books to kids and get them in bed

  • Hang with my wife - catch up - might be over a show, a drink, or a sports game on TV.  

  • Emails and unfinished work before calling it a day.

Any productivity hacks?

There are no hacks to hard work.

What are the two apps that you can’t live without?

  1. LinkedIn

  2. Spotify

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

I’m most proud of what we’re building at PatientPing. This is no small feat - engaging and connecting the largest and most respected health systems and the community of providers who help them care for shared patients. What we are doing is transforming healthcare and I’m so proud of that endeavor.


Colin Barry is the Content Manager on VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

Images courtesy of Nolan Kelly

About the
Company

Bamboo Health (formerly Appriss Health and PatientPing) is a healthcare technology solutions company, focused on fostering care collaboration and providing information and actionable insights across the entire continuum of care.

View Company Page
Career Path: Andrew Magne, Solutions Architect at Ordergroove banner image

Career Path: Andrew Magne, Solutions Architect at Ordergroove

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Solutions Architect at Ordergroove

We connected with Andrew Magne to find out!

Click here for a list of job openings at Ordergroove!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

The great state of Minnesota (winless in major sports championships since 1991). My dad worked in asset management and my mom runs a small company that produces custom apparel.

Where did you go to college?  What did you study there and what was your first job out of school?

I went to school at the University of Southern California and studied economics. My first job was at a sports marketing firm in their analytics/measurement division where we helped brands understand the return on their sponsorship spend.

How did you get into the tech industry and what brought you to Ordergroove?

I liked my job but was ready to move to a smaller company where I could have a larger impact. Ordergroove was included on a list of fast-growing startups in the NYC area so I figured I’d throw my hat in the ring. I didn’t have much in the way of tech experience beyond a few CS classes I had taken for fun in college, but I’m sure glad Ordergroove took a chance on hiring me.

What are the details in terms of your role and responsibilities as a Solutions Architect?

Ordergroove is creating a new category of commerce and my responsibility is to help support the technical side of our sales cycles as we bring new brands and retailers onboard. Our team strives to ensure our platform is a good technical fit for the prospective client as well as educate them on the features and functionality that will drive their success.

You’ve been promoted a couple of times since joining Ordergroove. What advice would you give to others who are looking for a rapid ascent in terms of their career path?

My advice would be to keep an open mind and be opportunistic when you see a match between a business need and your career interests. If you try to define a rigid career path too far in advance you may leave yourself blind to a role that would have been a great fit (this is as true for the company as it is for the employee).

Andrew Magne Ordergroove


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Cold brew on tap, please.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

If I’m on the road I’ll try to knock out as much work as possible prior to the day’s agenda, meet with the brand or retailer(s) on site, and cross my fingers for good WiFi on the flight back to New York. If I’m in the office, I’m usually meeting with cross-functional teams to determine the best technical approach to serve the needs of our current and prospective clients.

Any productivity hacks?

One good tip is to respond to each email or Slack immediately (< 2 minutes) or save it for a thoughtful response later. Don’t get stuck wasting 10 minutes deciding whether to respond.

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

First ever employee in my role at Ordergroove.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

Beyond my teammates at Ordergroove, I’d probably have to say my mom.


Alexander Culafi is Producer & Editor for VentureFizz. He also edits and produces The VentureFizz Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @culafia.

About the
Company

We are marketers, engineers, and innovators creating the future of Relationship Commerce.

View Company Page
Career Path: Matt Young, VP of Cloud Operations at EverQuote banner image

Career Path: Matt Young, VP of Cloud Operations at EverQuote

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and the day-in-a-life look like for the VP of Cloud Operations at EverQuote?

We connected with Matt Young to find out!

Also, EverQuote is hiring! Click here for all of the company’s job openings.


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

New Jersey is the first place I remember. In 4th grade we moved to Dryden, a very small town outside Ithaca, NY.  From grades 4-8 I went to a small church school in a renovated barn. There were seven kids in my 8th grade class. I attended a public high school, with 133 kids in my graduating class in 1994, then left behind cows, corn, and countryside and headed to college.

My father was an inspector for animal food mills and later a Feed Microscopist - “QA zoomed in.”  My mother is a first generation American who grew up working my grandparent’s flower farm in NJ. She continued the family business as a florist and caterer with my Aunt. I grew up prepping massive quantities of food and flowers for weddings and parties.  

In the first half of college, I frequently went home for the holidays to work with food+flowers to fund food+school.

Where did you go to college?  What did you study?

I attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), starting as a physics major. After a semester I switched to Chemistry. Two-and-a-half years into my undergrad I felt that while Chemistry is fascinating it wasn’t my passion. I was staying up WAY too late at night playing with the unix servers on campus. Rendering raytraced images took DAYS on my i386 and a few hours when the servers were idle at night.

I pushed my own reset button, changed my major to Computer Science, and took a full year off.  I joined an enterprise storage management startup (HighGround Systems) writing test automation code. When I returned to school I transitioned to an engineering role and worked 20-40 hrs/week while finishing my degree. I found that the job as an engineer lent perspective and context to what I was studying...and food.

As part of my time at WPI I did 2 projects with companies. The first was in London developing a marketing and business plan for a research group’s Internet rollout (1998). The second was with an industrial automation company (Intellution, 1999) where we designed and implemented a “Distributed Object Brokerage” - connecting management software to robot controllers via C++, DCOM, and graph theory.

Matt Young

What was your path from 2000 to EverQuote?

After graduating I moved to Seattle to join Microsoft. I spent six years on a hard real-time OS team (Windows CE): two years working on a kernel debugger, a profiler, and compilers, and another four in a “boots on the ground” engineering role. The latter was formative for me.

If we were engaged, a partner’s project was behind/failing or was using a new OS feature. My job was a mixture of debugging, diagnostics, training, and acting as an engineering conduit between our engineering teams creating the OS and hardware companies wanting to use it. I was able to work on video streaming devices, VoIP, routers, and some of the first “personal digital assistants” - precursors to smartphones. I got to learn ARM & MIPS and work at all layers of the stack from hardware to UI.

I found that I loved giving talks and working across teams/companies in a technical capacity. I discovered that I loved jumping on planes and not knowing the local language. I enjoyed debugging thorny issues with others more than creating new ones. I still do.

I moved to Germany and spent a couple years working with a Research team on embedded hypervisors and P2P networking research. I then returned to the US in customer facing support and engineering roles for MS’s application virtualization products. Again I gravitated to deeply technical and customer facing teams and tasks. After nearly a dozen years with Microsoft life events motivated a change.

I spent the next 7 years with Dell, VMware, and Red Hat. Virtualization, IaaS, orchestration systems and dev tooling formed a common thread throughout. I had a chance to learn and work with NetBSD, Linux, Windows, OpenStack, and Azure in a variety of languages. Throughout I found myself drawn to collaborative opportunities vs. individual contributor roles.

What has contributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

Being enthusiastic about bridging traditional roles and intentionally seeking out opportunities in multidisciplinary settings is perhaps a factor. Nearly every job where I’ve been successful has been a blend of Dev/QA/PM/Support. When an organization’s culture rewards solving problems irrespective of “role,” I have been the most engaged. It’s one of the many reasons I’m so excited to be a part of EverQuote.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as VP of Cloud Operations at Everquote?

Our team combines aspects of Site Reliability Engineering, Service Design Consultancy, and Operations. We...

  • Ensure that our infrastructure continues to enable our growth and business objectives.

  • Create, curate, and champion patterns and best practices for cloud native designs.

  • Partner with our engineering teams to produce solutions that are scalable, observable, and sustainable.

  • Provide development tools, systems, and methodologies that allow our engineering teams to manage their own services in production.

  • Manage our infrastructure, responding to operational issues that impact our workloads.

  • Manage our relationships and costs with cloud providers and vendors.

My role at EverQuote is to build, grow, and sustain a team that achieves these goals in an open, transparent, and inclusive way.

We’re hiring. Join us!

Any tips for someone considering a career in Engineering?

  • Be Kind. Listen first. Assume good intentions.

  • Be open to new ideas.

  • Make sure that you are solving the right problem(s).

  • Articulate and communicate your ideas. Ask for feedback.

  • Draw diagrams and pictures.  Often.

  • Be curious.


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee (hot or cold).  Aspirational goal: more water, less caffeine.

What time do you get into the office? When do you leave?

I arrive between 8:00 - 10:00, and leave 4:00 - 8:00. I’m a single dad with what appears to be an irregular weekly schedule. It’s a very regular 14-day schedule.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  1. Facilitating the professional growth of others.

  2. The sheer geekly awesomeness of modern infrastructure design. We are at a point where ideas that have been “the future” for decades are finally possible.  Lately for me this is k8s, istio, opencensus, go, spark, and a pile of other fun stuff.

  3. The opportunity to provide tools & techniques that improve our developers’ experience and velocity.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

  • Standup

  • n * {1:1, planning, reading, writing, listening, learning, sharing, doing}

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I usually log back in and sometimes stay up objectively up way too late - particularly if I’m doing dev stuff or learning new things. Finding balance isn’t something I’ve yet achieved.  I have been making inroads. There’s life going on out there!

Any productivity hacks?

  • Sleep.

  • Don’t boil the ocean when you need enough hot water to make tea.

  • Done > perfect.  Iterate.

What are 3 apps that you can’t live without?

  • EverDrive!

  • Youtube (CNCF, MS, Google, KubeCon, k8s, tech talks, …)

  • MyWeather (“shall I motorcycle now?”)

Matt Young


Colin Barry is the Content Manager on VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

Images courtesy of Matt Young

 

About the
Company

We are the largest online Auto Insurance marketplace in the U.S. We're helping end distracted driving with our safe driving app, EverDrive.

View Company Page
Career Path: Amelia Hagen, Program Manager in R&D Engineering at Starry banner image

Career Path: Amelia Hagen, Program Manager in R&D Engineering at Starry

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and the day-in-a-life look like for a Program Manager in R&D Engineering at Starry?

We connected with Amelia Hagen to find out!

Also, Starry is hiring! Click here to see all of the company’s openings!


Where did you grow up?  What was your favorite childhood memory?  

I grew up in a small rural town in New Hampshire called Contoocook. It was always easy to spot out-of-towners by the way they mispronounced the town name. Growing up surrounded by woods, rivers, and animals provided endless entertainment as a kid. My favorite childhood memory was when my brother decided that he wanted to be a chicken farmer, so my parents thought he should start learning the ropes right away (he did not choose this career path, ultimately). Despite the early morning hours feeding the chickens, and the hours spent cleaning the coop, we were always so excited to gather fresh eggs.  

What did you study in college and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I studied Technical Writing in college and graduated in 2009 - just after the recession started in 2008. Since jobs for new grads were hard to come by (and more so for new grads still trying to decide what to do for a living), I joined AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program in New Hampshire. For about 2 years I volunteered full-time as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at the Manchester Police Department while working a retail job in the evenings & weekends to make ends meet. I eventually migrated to Massachusetts and fell into formal Project Management after working for a small marketing company in Rhode Island.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

I’ve had a couple of really great managers in the past who taught me the basics and helped me understand the breadth and direction Project Management can take. Prior to their influence, I wasn’t willing to settle for a position or a place of employment that couldn’t meet my expectations for my long-term career goals. Professional improvement and learning have always been very important to me.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Program Manager at Starry?

I manage programs in Starry’s R&D Engineering group. This ranges from daily project communication, to process improvements, and encompasses working with teams around traditional project constraints such as schedule, risks, availability, quality, and - it wouldn’t be fun without this - project changes based on business or market needs.

Any tips for someone considering a career in Project Management?

A lot of pre-existing experience can be marketed as Project Management - start with that marketing before seeking out certifications or more degrees. Real-world experience in project management is very valuable.


Day in the Life
 

Coffee, Tea?

One cup of scalding black coffee as soon as I wake up, another two cups at work in the morning, and a fourth after lunch.

What time do you get into the office?

Between 8:30 & 9.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  1. I am always learning something new

  2. I work with very smart, driven people

  3. Did I mention I am always learning something new?

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

Meetings, brainstorm sessions, hallway conversations, slack messages, and when it’s 4:30/5pm, I get to start my day.

What time do you head out of the office?

Around 6ish, but sometimes  I stay later to finish up what I am working on.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

Depending on the week (and whether I’m running out of time for my weekly goals), I’ll log back in. When I do, often it’s after I hit the gym and I’ll work in front of the tube. I try to keep my weekends open, so I don’t mind working late during the week.

Any productivity hacks?

I write a small list of weekly goals every Monday morning and decide if they’re must do, could do, or a stretch goal for the week.

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

I earned my PMP a little over a year ago and was proud that I passed the test the first time I took it. But I’m mostly proud I get to work at Starry, and being a part of team growth & development.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

I call my brother to bounce ideas off of him since we have somewhat similar jobs. Sometimes, he throws in some free chicken-farming advice.


Colin Barry is the Content Manager on VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

Images courtesy of Amelia Hagen

About the
Company

Starry is making Internet better for everyone, from easy-to-use Wi-Fi products to radical Internet service. Happy Interneting.

View Company Page
Career Path: Neil Forbes, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Quick Base banner image

Career Path: Neil Forbes, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Quick Base

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and the day-in-a-life look like for the Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Quick Base?

We connected with Neil Forbes to find out!

Also, Quick Base is hiring! Click here to see all of the company’s openings!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in North Kingstown, RI. My father was a middle school history teacher and later a high school guidance counselor. My mother was a middle school home economics teacher and later a high school art teacher.

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I majored in Art, Philosophy & Literature with a minor in Systems Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. I later studied Film Directing and Production in UCLA’s Graduate Film Program. My first jobs after West Point were as a rifle platoon leader and mortar platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom I. While I was in grad school I did everything from assistant editing gigs for reality television shows to teaching film to working as a bouncer at night clubs and hotels.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

The leadership training I received at West Point, in Ranger School and through leading platoons in combat was second to none and greatly contributed to my success so far.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Quick Base?

  • Collaborate with customer base to align our platform with their business needs

  • Identify and share new ways that our customer base can leverage our platform

  • Build, drive and report on my team’s pipeline

  • Partner cross functionally with sales enablement, customer success, product, marketing, legal, finance, and ops to continue to drive efficiency in our sales team and sales process

  • Hire, coach, mentor and retain exceptional sales talent

Any tips for someone considering a career in Sales?

I think there will always be a place in Sales for highly curious, technically savvy people with strong oral and written communication skills.


Day in the Life


Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee

What time do you get into the office?

Between 7:30 and 8:30 most mornings. 

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  1. Helping people grow professionally

  2. Collaborating with customers that are energized by our platform

  3. Working in a market that is largely undefined with a platform that is the leader in that emerging space.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

  • Supporting account executives and managers on customer calls or face to face engagements

  • Working with account executives and managers to build effective account plans

  • Inspecting and building a rolling 90-day forecast/pipeline

  • 1:1s with managers and account executives

  • Interviewing or phone screen prospective candidates for our team

What time do you head out of the office?

Between 5 and 6:30 most nights.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I log back in at night.

Any productivity hacks?

Meditation. Sometimes you only need 10 minutes of silence to look at a problem in a different way.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

  1. Quick Base

  2. Spotify

  3. Audm

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

Seeing members of my team get promoted to run teams of their own here at QB.

Who do you admire?

I admire all members of my veteran extended family, but particularly those that are working day in and day out to overcome physical and/or psychological challenges that they developed overseas as a part of their service to our country.


Colin Barry is the Content Manager on VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

Images courtesy of Neil Forbes

About the
Company

Unlock the potential of your digital operations with Quickbase's no-code platform.

View Company Page
Career Path: Kenny Chen, Engineer at DigitalOcean banner image

Career Path: Kenny Chen, Engineer at DigitalOcean

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for an Engineer at DigitalOcean?

We connected with Kenny Chen to find out!

Also, DigitalOcean is hiring! Click here for all of their job openings!


Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I completed my B.S. in Exercise Physiology at Queens College. I later learned they were also a top college in NY for Computer Science, but I didn’t know I wanted to do that then!

What prompted you to make the transition from the fitness industry to tech?

I had a great time in the fitness industry and learned a lot about myself. Ultimately, it felt like I wasn’t mentally challenged enough and the career ceiling was generally lower. I’ve always had an interest in tech—I had made websites and built computers in the past. After researching and reaching out to friends, tech became more appealing as it seems to directly match what I was searching for: a job I would enjoy, where I would be challenged and could grow in the kind of environment I was looking for.

How did you land your first role at DigitalOcean and what were your responsibilities?

Initially, I just wanted any job in tech! I knew I needed to get my foot in the door and prove what I could do even though it was likely going to be an entry level job with a pay cut. I applied for all types of jobs that interested me, while still trying to learn about software development. During a Meetup, we were using DigitalOcean to deploy our sites and I was amazed by the simplicity and speed. I applied for the engineer position but I wasn’t technically ready to be a developer yet. I was ultimately offered to interview for the customer support position which was a good starting point since I had been building customer service skills for many years by then.

You are currently a Software Developer at DigitalOcean. How did you learn how to code and progress within the company to your current position?

I made the leap after leaving NYC and moving to Colorado for Turing School, a developer bootcamp which lasted 20 weeks. By this time, I had been at DigitalOcean for over a year and had luckily shown enough people that I was capable of coding.  I was fortunate to land a developer position when I completed the program!

Any tips for someone who is considering making a career change?

Honestly, it's a tough decision. There’s risk involved. I took a leap of faith and went all in, even moving across the country to achieve my goals. This ended up being one of the defining moments of my life. I’ve made lifelong friends and have been set up for a career I wouldn’t trade anything for, at a company that has such great values and has offered me so much.


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Both! Usually not too much of either though.

What time do you get into the office?

I usually start work at 10 am, but with the remote friendly culture, I sometimes work from home in the mornings.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  1. The constant challenges that arise.
  2. Working with great people.
  3. Believing in the work I do.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

Usually, I try to review what I did the day before, make sure I didn’t miss anything. Very common to be coding for 50-75% of the day, and then code reviews, discussions and meetings usually make up the rest.

What time do you head out of the office?

Usually around 6 pm.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I try to shut down completely, unless I am on-call, or something urgent arises. Then, I try to help out where I can.

Any productivity hacks?

Blocking out times during the day or silencing notifications for a bit can help limit distractions when I need to focus. Instrumental music helps me get in the zone too.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

A window management tool (Spectacle), a keyboard customizer (Karabiner), and a copy + paste tool (I use Alfred).

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

Hmmm, I do a poor job in documenting achievements (you should do it!). I’d have to say helping the team scale and improve as the company and customer base has grown so much in the past 5 years that I’ve been here!

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

There are so many great people I’ve met. Too many to name, but it’s always important to keep good people around you to keep you grounded, honest and humble.


Alexander Culafi is Producer & Editor for VentureFizz. He also edits and produces The VentureFizz Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @culafia.

About the
Company

We're simplifying the cloud by providing an infrastructure experience that developers love.

View Company Page
Career Path: Christopher Collins, Account Manager at SmartBear banner image

Career Path: Christopher Collins, Account Manager at SmartBear

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for an Account Manager at SmartBear?

We connected with Christopher Collins to find out!

Also, SmartBear is hiring! Click here to see all of the company's openings!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I was born in West Roxbury, MA and grew up in a small town in Western Massachusetts. My parents are consultants in the engineering and software industries.

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I went to Saint Anselm College, where I studied Economics and Public Policy. Upon graduation, I wanted to take the time to explore different opportunities. I worked at the Department of Commerce, a small marketing firm, and coached lacrosse. Through coaching, I expanded my network and had the opportunity to meet with sales leadership at SmartBear. I left the meeting excited and inspired by this growing company and knew I had to get involved.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

They say curiosity kills the cat, but I would argue otherwise. If I had to boil my success down to one word it would be curiosity. This attribute has led me to challenge the status quo, continuously learn, and take risks.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have grown significantly in the year I’ve been at SmartBear and I attribute that success to the environment here. I am surrounded by intelligent, driven people. Coworkers in any department are always available to discuss ideas or questions I might have. Starting in business development taught me about the challenges our customers face, and how we can help improve their everyday lives. My manager gave me a great foundation in software sales which I was then able to build upon.

Due to the growth of our organization, I was asked to become a team lead, managing 10 other team members on the US Sales Development Team. And more recently, I have been promoted to Account Manager. Though each role has been demanding, I work with a great team that ensures success.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Account Manager at Smartbear?

I work with customers in highly regulated industries, such as aerospace and defense, banking, and aviation, to improve their software development process. This requires finding and connecting with the proper stakeholders to understand the issues they face and develop a possible solution.

Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?

This is a high paced environment. Be constantly curious and try to learn as much as you possibly can. Once you think you've learned enough, be prepared to adapt quickly. What works today, might not work tomorrow.  


Day in the Life


Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee. Probably too much coffee.

What time do you get into the office?

8:15 AM



What are three things that motivate you in your role?

I’m motivated by the will to succeed, the desire to continue to learn, and seeing those I mentor succeed.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

Before I leave work, I make a list of everything I want to accomplish the next day.  When I arrive in the morning, I prioritize that list based upon any new emails or notifications I may have received and I hit the ground running!

What time do you head out of the office?

5:30

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

Will this be published? Then I am always available.

Any productivity hacks?

Butter in said coffee.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

News, Lyft, and Calculator

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

I most proud of my growth at SmartBear over the past year. I have been trusted with the responsibility of leading a team, and then earned the opportunity to contribute to one of the most profitable products.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

Both of my managers have been great resources. Each started where I was, and have established themselves as trusted voices at the company. I have yet to encounter a situation where I couldn't go to them and have an honest dialogue.


Colin Barry is the Content Manager to VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash.

Images courtesy of Christopher Collins

About the
Company

6+ million software professionals and 20,000+ companies in 194 countries use SmartBear products to build and deliver the world’s greatest applications.

View Company Page
Career Path: Celia Courtright, Software Manager at Chewy banner image

Career Path: Celia Courtright, Software Manager at Chewy

Open Jobs Company Page

What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for a Software Manager at Chewy?

We connected with Celia Courtright to find out.

Also, Chewy is hiring! Click here for all of the company's job openings.


Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee. My parents were professors of Biology and Political Science. They were big proponents of learning math.

Where did you go to college? What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I went to Yale University for undergrad, where I majored in history. I also took a substantial number of CS courses, but Yale doesn’t give minors. My first job was in consulting as an analyst. I quickly switched from being the analyst to writing code.

After that, I went to a startup followed by some government work when I was in D.C. I also got an MBA from the University of Maryland, where I concentrated in IT and finance.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

I love solving problems and building solutions. From working in a lot of industries and roles – analyst, UI engineer, full stack engineer, QA engineer, data engineer, system architect – I can approach a lot of problems from all these perspectives and ensure my team is building something that is maintainable, testable, and reliable.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Software Manager at Chewy?

I put the building blocks for what we need to build in the proper execution order, keeping in mind technical dependencies and time to execute. I ensure “planned work” is broken down to levels that engineers can actually execute. I keep engineers in check to deliver projects by our committed dates. I work with the engineers reporting to me to grow their technical and business skills and advance their careers.

Any tips for someone considering a career in Software Management?

Work on different types of systems, in different languages, in different roles. There is something to learn in each of them and make it easier to understand why various elements are important.

Your role is to remove other people’s problems: conflicts with other people, problems with tools, and so forth.


Day in the Life


Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Mostly tea. Some soda, but I keep working on cutting down.

What time do you get into the office?

I’m in “early” just after 8 a.m.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  • Building a system that makes users’ happier.

  • Having a clear, actionable road map that I can dig into.

  • Work camaraderie.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

My day starts before I’m in the office. I’m checking emails by 6 AM and leave the house at 7 AM to catch the train. Then I’ll spend my commute getting my calendar and to-do list in order and sending emails as needed.  

In the office, I spend time meeting with users or product managers on clarifying requirements and priorities. Then I’ll meet with engineers about technical decisions and project break down. I usually run scrum. I’ll have a couple “scrum of scrum” type meetings where we go over cross-team technical dependencies. If it’s my one-on-one day, I’ll spend a lot of time talking to my engineers about how they are progressing in their goals and any issues they have.

The remainder of the time is spent fixing any issues that come up, so the engineers can code unhindered, or a project can be unblocked. A lot of this is Jira management: creating, updating, documenting tickets. I’m rarely writing code or executing proofs-of-concept, but I will direct others in how to do these. Other times it’s writing up documentation or presentations of the work being proposed or being completed. It all depends where in the lifecycle various projects are.

When I leave the office, I have my off-line time until later, when I’ll finish up a couple tasks that I can do out of the office.

What time do you head out of the office?

Most days I leave about 4:30 PM.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I usually work 1-2 hours at night. The paperwork doesn’t usually get done while I’m in the office, so I spend the evening filing tickets of various sorts and reviewing others’ work.

Any productivity hacks?

Block time on your calendar for any task you need to do that will take more than five minutes. And delete or file all email that isn’t immediately needed. I almost never get to “inbox zero” but I’m happiest under “inbox 10”.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

  • Fantastical. It has all my calendars (10!) combined and the natural language for entering new events is really useful.

  • Evernote. My notes go everywhere on every device, so it’s easy to review even without my computer.

  • Spotify

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

I mentored an off-shore (not contractor) team at a large multi-national corporation that had few coding skills at the outset, to executing a total rewrite of the BI reporting system. We integrated six completely different ERP systems from four countries into a cohesive interface that did not have 10,000 fields and everyone defining a different “truth”. It was the old way of doing things.

The end result was a fast, responsive, clear system everyone loved. It was hard work, as many on the business side had their reasons why field #5003 needed to be included, and why field #23 which was virtually identical could not be used. But, I eventually got them all to agree on the critical few requirements.

Along the way, the development team learned several programming languages, how to use source control, how to do code reviews, how to deploy code, and even some aspects of writing unit and integration tests.​
Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

I check in with some grad school colleagues from time to time.


Colin Barry is the Content Manager to VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash.

Images courtesy of Celia Courtright and Chewy

About the
Company

Our mission is to be the most trusted and convenient online destination for pet parents everywhere. We believe that we are the preeminent online source for pet products, supplies and prescriptions as a result of our broad selection of high-quality products, which we offer at competitive prices and deliver with an exceptional level of care and a personal touch. We continually develop innovative ways for our customers to engage with us, and partner with more than 1,800 of the best and most trusted brands in the pet industry to bring a high-bar, customer-centric experience to our customers.

View Company Page

Pages