Our “Meet the Team” series spotlights the people behind Emergent Software. This month, we’re featuring Mike Allen, Director of Software Engineering.
What’s your professional background?
I started my career as a software engineer working on systems and languages that no one would touch with a 10-foot pole these days. From there, I worked my way up to a senior, then principal, and team lead.
I think it’s helpful that I’ve been able to play every role within a dev team throughout my career. It means I’ve been in a lot of the same situations, seen the same problems, and overcome the same obstacles our team is going through now. The technologies are different, but so much of it is the same.
What drew you to join Emergent Software?
The first thing that drew me in was the size. I had been working in the same industry, but at a company that was 100 times bigger. It was the kind of place where changes were slow and hard, and good ideas often died on the vine because that was easier than changing. I liked that Emergent Software was small, nimble, willing to experiment, and had a “let’s see how good of a company we can build” attitude.
The thing that hooked me was meeting the staff. The leadership was humble, smart, and cared deeply about building great client relationships. I knew it was something I wanted to be part of.
What was your first job?
I worked at Hallmark at the Mall of America. My favorite part was that I got one free card per week, so I’d find the most random card – like happy 100th birthday or get well soon – and mail it to my sister in college. College students appreciate mail.
How do you fill your time outside of work?
I have a two year-old and six year-old, so family fill most of my time outside of work. I’ve gotten good at wrestling, dress up, and playing “Jingle Bells” while the kids run around the couch shaking bells (it’s a year-round hit).
Other than that, I tend to collect hobbies instead of becoming an expert in any one thing. There are just too many interesting things to learn about and try. My current hobby is biking. I have a goal of biking up a hill in Seattle this summer that’s 5,000 feet tall. The biggest hill in the twin cities is 350 feet, so I have my work cut out to train for that.
What’s one fun fact about yourself?
I have two different colored eyes that have been like that since birth. It’s probably really hard to tell over video calls… some friends in real life haven’t notice for years, others see it right away.
Where in the world would you most like to visit that you have never been?
Norway! Some relatives had a foreign exchange student from Norway when I was younger and two of my grandparents were born there too. I haven’t made it that far north in Europe, but it’s on my bucket list for sure.
Interested in joining the Emergent Software team? Check out our careers page.
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