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Nortal Spotlight: Jeremy Veleber

by Nortal cloud team, February 18, 2020

Welcome to our Nortal Spotlight series! We will be interviewing employees across the US office and shining some light on the incredible team we have in Seattle. Read our first interview with Jeremy below!

How did you get into software engineering?

“I have a marketing degree and I liked that in school, but I didn’t like that in the real world. I worked for a very short time in the business world but didn’t enjoy it. After that I joined the technology world just before the dotcom bubble burst by starting in QA and then moved into writing code.”

What were the first technologies that you worked with when you got into software?

“The first language I learned was C++. The first language I wrote professionally was Visual Basic 6.”

Which technologies are your favorite to work with? Which ones are your least? 

“I enjoy Java for general business software and C++ for writing device firmware. I like these languages because type safety and compile time error finding is valuable. I like object oriented programming – it’s easy for me to visualize my code. Java especially has the quality that is improving, I like that things continue to get better about it. What I don’t enjoy is writing frontend code because users are really unpredictable. The amount of defensive code I would have to write would bother me.”

Can you walk us through a typical day on your current project?

“I get up and grab a cup of coffee at 7:30am for a stand-up. Then I get my son on the bus and go to work. I either go to Bellevue or Nortal HQ and then I’m mostly writing code, debugging things, writing tests and communicating with teammates. Sometimes I deal with developing infrastructure like CICD, but not everyday.”

Which traits do you think are the most important for success in software consulting?

“Soft skills by far are the most important thing for success. Being competent is crucial but the soft skills that surround the competence is more important. Gaining trust and rapport with the client is essential to the success of a project. The thing that people need to be able to do is understand the big picture and work their way down. Then you need to be able to communicate that in the way that non-technical people can understand. Using analogies helps gain rapport with a client.”

What does an ideal project look like for you?

“My dream project is to write something that goes on a device. Working on the firmware for an agriculture company would be cool too.”

What is the most challenging aspect of your job? What is the most rewarding?

“The most challenging aspect would be getting bored. I’ve been doing this for a long time so the problems are less interesting because I’ve seen them before. The most rewarding is the creative aspect. At the end when I have made the thing, that is the most rewarding.”

What advice can you give to somebody looking to get started with their software engineering career? Looking into consulting?

“Make stuff that you like and work on existing non-academic projects. Make as many mistakes as you can before you try and get a job so that you learn as much as possible. In terms of consulting, be as honest as you can as often as you can. Telling clients hard truths is not necessarily a bad thing. Be kind and compassionate about it, but be honest. The other stuff just works itself out.”

What has been your favorite project to work on so far?

“I worked on a project where the goal was to allow software groups to easily orchestrate and manage software in Kubernetes without having to know all of the details surrounding the inner-workings of Kubernetes. There was also the idea of making it an open source platform. I enjoyed the Nortal team – we worked really well together. We saw eye to eye on most things, but when we didn’t the discussions were really healthy. We all benefited from this project. I like how we took Kubernetes data that was not generally easy to get at quickly and we created an efficient streaming of that data. The technology we used were things like publish and subscribe and NATS – that was really neat. We used WebSockets, which I hadn’t used before – that was fun. This allowed us to have push and pull between the client data and server.”

What’s your favorite Nortal memory?

“It was when one of our team members was heading back to Estonia and a bunch of people went out and did an escape room. It was fun to apply the way we work to a more novel environment.”

What’s your favorite hobby outside of work?

“My favorite hobby is participating in and teaching at a menswork group. It’s an organization where men can be whole human beings and share their vulnerabilities.”

If you are interested in learning more about life at Nortal, visit our careers page. For technical content from Jeremy, you can visit his blog