Dr. Dobb's is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Channels ▼


Developer Diaries

A Taste for the Grandiose

Cristian Vlasceanu

Employer: aQuantive

Job: Senior Software Engineer

DDJ: Where do you work?

CV: I have been working in online advertising for the last three and a half years. I have a daytime position with aQuantive (which has recently been acquired and merged into Microsoft). I also moonlight for my own gig, Zero Systems LLC. I wear a senior software engineer hat during the day, and a colorful (if not extravagant) assortment of hats at night.

DDJ: What do you like about your job?

CV: I like being on the grandiose side of things, large-scale systems, many hundreds of machines working in parallel. It is a taste I picked up a while back at Amazon.com.

DDJ: What do you find challenging about your job?

CV: Working for a large company has its benefits, but it is a challenge to be able to put your finger on a given product and say, "I've done that, all of it, just by myself." That's where Zero Systems comes into play. My C++ debugger product is all me, I can showcase my skills, and I do not have anyone to blame for the bugs.

DDJ: What's your hobby?

CV: I collect jazz vinyls.

Searching for Meaning

Huy Nguyen

Employer: Endeavors Technologies Inc.

Job: Senior Software Architect

DDJ: What do you like about your job?

HN: This is one of the most high-tech, fast-growing companies in the industry where we do application streaming and virtualization, with a team of 5 (that's it!).

We have a very strong engineering team, very bright, working so well together that everyone's looking forward to go to work every day. Personally, as Senior Architect, I have a chance to breakdown requirements, to analyze architecture concerns, and to explore available design patterns to ensure that our product is sound, robust, and maintainable.

DDJ: What do you find challenging about your job?

HN: There are countless ways for getting from abstract requirements to concrete architecture designs—how to ensure that the design is sound is challenging. We don't have the luxury to do so many iterations to recover from early errors.

DDJ: What have you found that makes your job easier?

HN: Learning from so many technical reports, teaching, and training, I have developed a method for systematically converting requirements to architecture design. It's not a silver bullet, but it forces the architect to focus on as many design aspects as possible. Of course, there are prerequisites to use this method, including knowledge of architecture trade-off, design patterns, and development styles (domain-driven, test-driven, feedback-driven, etc). The method is called IDEFC (Interface-Data-Event-Function and Control) analysis. The entities interact with each other in endless cycles to become the foundations for building larger software systems. For instance, one unique concept is that all things are data, including Interface, Event, Function, and Control. With Data, there is creation and destruction and everything in between.

DDJ: What's your hobby?

HN: I like to play basketball, poker with my friends, hiking, swimming, Chinese chess, etc. But one of my more unique hobbies would be practicing Zen/Tai chi and searching for the meaning of life. Life is not worth living without a meaning.

Integrating Java with Python

Bil Lewis

Employer: The Broad Genomics Institute of MIT

Job: Computer Scientist

DDJ: What's your job at MIT?

BL: I write programs to analyze DNA, figure out how to assemble little bits into a whole genome, align genomes of different organisms to see how similar they might be, etc. At the moment it's the 16S ribosomal small subunit that we're looking at. Because it's so well conserved across different species, it's possible to use just a few primers and we can figure out what kind of little critters are in a sample (say, your bug).

DDJ: What do you like about your job?

BL: It's intellectually stimulating and I think of it as a "good" thing to be doing. (I get to take classes for free!)

DDJ: What do you find challenging about your job?

BL: The computing infrastructure at MIT is not what it should be and that's the primary source of difficulty. (I have high expectations. I used to work at Sun. Everything always worked.) [But] MIT is way better than most companies.

DDJ: What have you found that makes your job easier?

BL: Extreme clarity. To the point of near-absurdity. Because we're integrating Java with Python, and Python doesn't do type discrimination on arguments, we keep finding strings where files were expected, etc.

DDJ: What's your hobby?

BL: I gave up hang gliding a few years ago. (I actually started crying when I sold my kite.) Now, it's Swedish and Norwegian dancing. I perform some.

Related Reading

More Insights

Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.