Welcome back to the Meet Our Team Q&A series. My name is Daniela Williams, Project Manager at ISE, and I’ll be asking ISE team members questions to help give insight into what makes us tick.
This month ISE is out and about at career fairs in Iowa and Texas. Today I'm interviewing TJ Rogers, Software Developer, and one of our newer members to the ISE team. This week TJ was going to join Kathy Jones at the Iowa State University Engineering Spring Career Fair, but the Iowa weather kept them in Coralville.
Q. How long have you worked at ISE and what did you do prior?
TJ: It’s hard to believe, but February marks the start of my eighth month working at ISE and before that I was studying at Iowa State University to get my degree in Software Engineering!
Q. It's Career Fair time for the local colleges in Iowa and Texas. As a recent graduate, what did you look for in a company?
TJ: There are certainly a lot of factors to take into consideration when looking at employers, but two of the most important for me when deciding whether or not to work for a company are the culture and work-life balance. Company culture is a big one for me because there’s a huge difference in how motivated and enthusiastic I am to work based on the attitudes of my co-workers. I’ve found that working with motivated and passionate people makes it very difficult to not be motivated and passionate as well, which is why I like coming to work! Work-life balance is another factor I took into account when looking for a company. I don’t particularly enjoy working 60 or more hours a week, and I like to have enough time and energy throughout the week to pursue other interests and hobbies outside of work.
Q: How has what you learned in college translated into your work at ISE?
TJ: The most important thing I learned in college was how to learn. One thing I’ve come to realize in the past eight months is that you won’t always have the answer to the problems you encounter and you’ll need to know how to find the answer. That may mean asking your team for information, searching through StackOverflow articles, or doing some creative whiteboarding. But no matter the solution, if you don’t know how to learn you’ll be a much less effective developer than you otherwise could be. Another fun facet of the software industry is that our tool box of languages, design patterns and technologies is rapidly changing. If you don’t know how to learn and adapt with these technologies, then you’ll quickly be outpaced by the industry.
Q. What advice do you have for college students interested in an internship or full-time position at ISE?
TJ: The best advice I can give to college students interested in an internship or full-time position at ISE is to learn something that none of your classmates learn. There are many aspects of professional software development, such as security, performance, and user experience, that often get overlooked in academia but are vital to making useful programs. Many universities offer cyber defense competitions or Hackathons which are great places to collaborate with other developers, learn new technologies and gain insight into the many facets of the software industry!
Q: What do you do for fun?
TJ: In my free time during the summer I enjoy weight lifting, running and yard work. When winter rolls around, I like to stay warm and read a book or watch movies.
Are you interested in joining our team? Learn about our current opportunities on our Careers page and look for us at an upcoming Career Fair!