[Dev Stories] Finding purpose when your app isn’t literally saving lives

[Dev Stories] Finding purpose when your app isn’t literally saving lives

Andrew Kunzel

Andrew Kunzel

November 18, 2020

Just over ten years ago, I landed my first real developer job with the Space and Missile Defense Command. I was an intern in college working on C-RAM, which is a set of systems used to detect and destroy incoming rockets, artillery and mortar rounds in the air before they hit their ground targets. My focus was to build an image processing script in MATLAB to make sure the barrels of the Phalanx gun were correctly aligned. 

While my contribution to the C-RAM project was admittedly small, it remains one of my favorite projects that I’ve ever worked on. It was easy to find meaning in the work because the system I was helping to create saves lives. The impact was clear and that was important to me. 

Since then, I’ve been largely focused on backend and data engineering—I’m particularly interested in the intersection of data science and backend platforms. At Pinpoint, I lead Team Bolt, which is focused on building a developer dashboard at the heart of our collaborative workspace. I also lead the team working on V2 of our Retrospectives solution. 

Finding purpose when your product isn't literally saving lives.

I’ve found this role to be far less stressful than my work on C-RAM, but just as meaningful. There may not be lives at stake, but creating a more effective and enjoyable experience for developers to do their jobs is critical to the future of innovation and software engineering (yay for more life-saving software!) I’ve found deep purpose and meaning in this role, too. 

The alerting and monitoring features I’m working on now will give developers visibility into issues early on, making troubleshooting much easier. For some of our users, that means they’re able to address bugs that impact customer experience quickly. For others, the stakes may be even higher. 

Finding purpose in teamwork

Beyond the day-to-day deliverables, I’ve found purpose in teamwork. I’ve managed teams as large as 20 and as small as three. Regardless of size, these teams are there for each other and ready to lend an extra set of eyes (or hands) if needed. We tackle challenges together. We celebrate wins together. And these moments bring meaning to all that we do—big or small. 

To learn more about Andrew and what he’s working on, check out his full  Developer Spotlight and follow along with his posts on Pinpoint’s blog.