Careers in Software Engineering
By Lori Cameron

For this ComputingEdge issue, we interviewed Murray Cantor—co-founder and chief technology officer of Aptage—an agile-software-development risk management consultancy—about career opportunities in software engineering. He has developed cutting-edge ideas in software and systems development for more than 35 years. In addition to writing many articles, he is the author of two books: Object-Oriented Project Management with UML and Software Leadership: A Guide to Successful Software Development. He coauthored the article “Steering Software Development Workflow: Lessons from the Internet” from IEEE Software’s September/October 2016 issue.

ComputingEdge: In the field of software engineering, what advice would you give college students to give them an advantage over the competition?

Cantor: They should learn programming and implementation technologies for machine learning and AI, such as Nvidia’s CUDA parallel-computing platform and API model and the TensorFlow open source software library for machine intelligence.

ComputingEdge: What should applicants keep in mind when applying for jobs in software development?

Cantor: Applicants should avoid dead-end jobs using obsolete technology.

ComputingEdge: How can new hires make the strongest immediate impression in a new position?

Cantor: Show your manager a project you’ve done on your own initiative—not a class assignment—ideally something involving AI. In addition, be ready to provide good examples of team and leadership skills. Development is a team sport.

ComputingEdge: Name one critical mistake for young graduates to avoid when starting their careers.

Cantor: Avoid getting complacent with your skills. Software development careers entail lifelong learning. And what matters is your ability to contribute to your team’s success.

ComputingEdge: Do you have any learning experiences you could share that could benefit those just starting their software-engineering careers?

Cantor: When I was about 30, object-oriented programming was the latest thing. The conventional thinking among the younger programmers was that I was already too old to get it. I quickly learned the Booch method and C++ and proved them wrong. You will age and will need to keep up.


 

About Lori Cameron

ComputingEdge’s Lori Cameron interviewed Cantor for this article. Contact her at l.cameron@computer.org if you would like to contribute to a future ComputingEdge article on computing careers. Contact Cantor at mcantor@murraycantor.com.