SEED Interview with Jonathan Miller Kauffman

04 September 2017


flickr photo by j.hietter shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

As part of the SEED project, I recently talked with Jonathan Miller Kauffman, a Consultant at Coveros. In this interview, Jonathan shared with me that, while technical skills are necessary, software engineers must be effective communicators. Jonathan also stressed both the importance of repeatedly practicing key skills and the need for continuous learning. Read Jonathan's responses to the three SEED questions to learn more about his unique perspective on the engineering of software.

What is one fun fact that you can share about your company or a current project?

Coveros does not have an office space that they own or rent in which employees can work. Instead, employees either work at client sites or from their homes. Whenever we need to meet as a company, we rent meeting spaces. This reduces the company's fixed costs and allows us to be more profitable.

What is the greatest challenge that you face when working in your field?

Although there are often significant technical challenges involved with understanding how existing software works or when trying to develop a new feature, the most significant and pervasive challenge is with communication. Making sure that all stakeholders (e.g., the business, analysts, developers, and testers) have the same understanding of the software that is going to be developed is extremely important yet very hard to achieve. Learning how to identify your assumptions and the assumptions that others may be making will enable you to more effectively communicate and therefore develop software that better meets the needs of people.

What is one point of advice that you can give to people who plan to enter your field?

The ability to learn new skills and technologies is necessary for anyone who plans to enter the software industry. I recommend that anyone who wants to work in this field develop a habit of continuous learning and practice. This could be as simple as spending time reading about an area of interest on a daily basis. What action someone decides to take is less important than the consistency with which they take that action.

Do you have any questions about this interview? Or, do you have a response to Jonathan's ideas? If you do, then I hope that you will contact me to share some of your thoughts. Or, do you want to be updated when I publish new interviews in this series? If you do, then please subscribe to my mailing list.

Enjoy this post? If so, please read, SEED Interview with Kara King, my most recent article.

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