Cameron's Notes

Cameron Miller
CS 476
Speaker: Chris Rees

Worked for startup companies to enterprise
Local and global teams
Became team leader
Cover my meds
First job in industry 2012 Urban Code downtown Cleveland
Developer number 8
Worked on Urban Code Build
Acquired by IBM conversion from small company to big company

IMB Dev Op services - worked on team that built up their engine
-worked with widespread team across the globe, Sweden
Urban Code Build - added three people from China to maintain as a team
-time difference was a challenge, working from other countries
-had to work and ask questions at crazy hours
-worked as Developer, support, team leadership, scrum master for a while
-had to plan out things 6-18 months in advance

About a year ago he left because he didn't want to keep doing the same thing/ wanted to see what else was out there

Now works at covermymeds for about 8 months
-healthcare IT
-helps around 50 million people get their medication a year
-does back end code with his team
-Transitioning to team called integration
-keeps tams smaller because it is easier for communication

Things I wish I knew before I graduated
-if you have a chance to do co-op do it
-helps in the hiring, helps to have experience
-you can learn a lot from the professionals
-side projects are a good thing to do to prove concepts
-colleague who got hired because of side projects
- when he wants to learn a new project he would remake projects in a language he knew already
-put projects on your resume
-you're going to feel like you know nothing
-imposter syndrome (feeling like you're not going to be able to contribute)
-4 years at Urban Code didn't really feel like he could contribute and he was team leader
-find a company who is willing to help you

What it's like to work for Start-Up
-first job in industry
-25 employees
-hardships with gambling software, they couldn't pay people
-started out by working with a new product
-worked close with his CEO
-strategy to write code- write 25 min, throw away, repeat
-startups lack tooling and consistency
-may not have style yet if early enough
-Urban Code did not have code review for first 3 years he was there
-Company will change a lot, start making sales, new customers, code style
-smaller companies can move a lot faster but more room for error
-you can find really old, free software
-a lot of code he worked with was 10+ years old
-he also worked with code that was brand new

-employee #350 8 months ago
-can do what they want during the day as long as they get their work done
-Cleveland and Columbus offices have different feels/atmospheres
-not restricted to working with certain teams, can ask questions to different teams for
different problems
-learned there are a lot of tech companies in Cleveland
-culture is more important than you think
-can do what he wants at work, makes him happy
-example play board games at lunch
-keeps developers happy, stay longer
-hire people that fit the culture because it is fragile
-find a company that fits the culture you want
-dont be afraid to ask questions that sound dumb


• Q: How much time do you spend programming with each company?
o Urban Code - programming all the time
o IBM - 50% or less had to lead teams, more responsibilities
o Covermymeds- 80%-90% depending on meetings and things like that

• Q: Did you have any classes that taught about scrum and what were your first impressions.
o Closest class at UCF processes - project management, never used any of it
o Knew about waterfall and agile programming
o Did not know about scrum
• Q: Do you think you should ask an employer if a company does code reviews?
o It shouldn't make or break your decision but it is important for the company and an important thing to know

• Q: How important was a master’s degree in computer science
o Hired because of skill set, getting masters after the fact did not matter
o Wanted to get masters for a pay raise
o They left as equals, degree does not make people treating you differently

• Q: When switching in companies, what were some of the trainings these companies gave you?
o urbanCode threw him into the fire, he liked it that way
o Covermymeds had training for 6 weeks, ruby work
o Had a guy meet with him to see how he was doing
o Always someone there to help, channel for new hires to ask questions

• Which would you prefer to start out with a startup or a bigger company?
o He likes Startup
o Likes small teams, startup feels more open
o Biased but he would do it again

• What is your experience with Software patents?
o Bigger companies like IBM and Apple a lot of energy spent on patents
o They want ways to make money
o Write out their idea, try to find other similar ones, change up theirs from others,
• Do you own patent or company?
o Owned by IBM his name on it, 2 names on it

• Do you get royalties?
o Initial bonus but no

• What was the biggest thing you learned transferring from a small to large company?
o Every situation is different so it depends
o Every company has their own ways of doing things
o You are going to have to learn new ways too
o Larger companies use their own products while smaller ones may just use free stuff
• Did you have any background or history with healthcare? What challenges did you have?
o Did not know much about healthcare it when he joined covermymeds
o No prior knowledge, did not know what the business did
o Just wanted to work on something different
o There was a lot to learn and there will always be a lot to learn
• What do think has been more helpful, learning new language or tools?
o New languages are not that hard, once you know one you know them all, syntax
o Tools are interesting but did not benefit him that much, just gave him a bigger skill set
o Showing you can go out to learn something is a useful

• When you talking about training for a company what would that consist of?
o Covermymeds, going through exercises
o Getting help with doing certain things
o Pairing up and working with others
o Urban Code gave him a real problem to work on, ask others for help

• Do you have a go to place to learn a new language or approach?
o Take a program he wrote in one language and learn to write the same program in another language
o bunch of different languages and do one exercise at a time for other languages
• How expensive is it to rewrite code from scratch as opposed to using preexisting code?
o A lot of different factors play into it
o Have to fill out risk assessments
o Do you have customers?
• How often do you learn a new language?
o A lot of it is he gets bored
o More than having to learn for job
o He wants to more
• How do you find out about new technologies and languages?
o Hears from other colleagues
o Wanting to learn new languages
o Going to conferences
o Hearing from company
• Have you had any programming related questions in interviews?
o Brain Teasers / problem solving
o Fizzbuzz
o Reversal linked list
o Covermymeds 8 hours wrote web application
o Sitting down with developer fixing bugs/pair programming
• What languages or tools do you recommend looking into?
o .NET for around the area
o Learn what interests you and find a job that fits that
o Web frameworks
• How does all employees across the country stay in touch?
o Video conferencing
o Teammate, they can write code together on the same screen
o With big time differences, need to give colleagues as much information as possible so they can help solve problems
• Did you practice any sort of code structures and things like?
o Yes they had structure in place already and if code was not in it they would have to redo it
o One project had Chinese comments had to redo
• Learn big on one thing or learn less on many things?
o Suggests learn a little on more
o Always keep learning
• In interviews do you think it would be more beneficial to go to college or learn on your own?
o Depends what you want to do
o Would not want to work for someone who cares about where you came from instead of what you can do
o You want people with different mindsets is always helpful