What do I stand for as a Software Engineer?

I love software and I love technology, but I realize that neither means anything without people. Software is for people first and computers second. Without the user our software is meaningless and it is my imperative as a developer to always keep the user in mind.

I believe in the power of the network effect, and that a system's value increases with its user base. I also believe that the fundamental purpose of all of software is to facilitate human communication. Even the most humble of schedulers contribute to this aim.

Technology does not solve problems. Humans leveraging technology solve problems. I don't believe in building systems that try to solve a human or organizational problem by force. I've seen these systems fail - the users either rebel or reject the system wholesale. Instead I believe in building systems that that guide the user toward effective problem solving.

I believe in bringing transparency to opaque processes. I believe that a user should never have to type the same thing twice. I believe that the Single Responsibility Principle applies to all layers of software architecture and that system integration and collaboration are two of the highest ideals.

In my world, the user comes first and everything else falls into place.

More about me

My love of computers began when my parents inherited an old Texas Instruments TI-99 from my grandfather. I played a lot of Hunt the Wumpus and toyed with the programming guide. I was six at the time and a little too young to understand what I was doing, but by by age 10, I had my programming groove on.

I wrote a network chat program in Turbo Pascal while in eighth grade, and attempted to write a MUD in twelfth. In between, I dabbled in many other projects, learning and growing with the Web. I even worked as a computer repair technician up until I graduated high school. I've always been fascinated with network programming and the power of computers to facilitate human communication.

I joined the Air Force out of high school as a computer programmer. My first job was working on the Combat Ammunition System in Montgomery, AL, but when the opportunity came to move the Washington, DC, I took it. I have since worked with the Defense Courier Service and most recently, the White House Communications Agency. I take great pride in my current job - not many programmers can say they wrote software for the President.

Not only do I program for my day job, but I also donate my skills to charity. I served for two years as the webmaster for the Washington DC chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery and continue to work with the National Science Olympiad, judging tournaments, writing computer and engineering events, and helping to promote science education in America.

I love my job and the people I work with, but my enlistment is up and I am ready to move on. I want to find a company that focuses on delivering innovative products that help improve the lives of others. I've been in government and consumed the innovation of others. Now I want to be the guy who makes the real magic happen.

Ryan is an exceptional leader and teacher, who takes time to make those around him better, thus strengthening the entire team.

Chief, Information Systems Division. White House Communications Agency

I love all aspects of software. I enjoy working with customers and using technology to solve their problems. I am an expert in multiple platforms and technologies and I never stop learning.

Ryan Michela