Interview of Randy N.

April 20, 2010
Randy N. is a software developer for Bank of America. While most people have some sort of career change in their life, he has more or less done the same thing all his life, although it has gradually evolved over time. He has spent the last 20 years in the computer technology industry.

What is your job, and is there a title that comes with it.

My job is that of software engineer. I write financial software for Bank of America, a financial company. My title is Senior Developer.

Can you describe your average workday?

My day starts at 5:35 AM, and then I catch the 6:17 train and get to work at 7:00, in downtown Chicago at the Sears Tower (Willis Tower). In the morning I go through email and then have a meeting from 9:00 to 10:00 AM. Then I do various things, such as migrating trades from the Merrill Lynch and Bank of America Legacy Systems to our current system, developing software, or troubleshooting issues until 12:00 PM when I eat lunch at my desk. Then I do the same things until 4:30 or 4:45 PM. I then catch the train and get home at 5:45 PM.

What do you enjoy about your job and why?

I enjoy being able to find solutions to sometimes very difficult problems and working with a diverse group of people.

What benefits, such as health insurance or a dental plan, to you get from your job?

I get subsidized health and dental plans, which I still have to pay for, and paid vacations.

Looking back, did you expect to have this job or a similar one, and if no, describe the kind of job you expected to have and how surprised you would have been to know what job you have now?

In some ways, yes, because I wanted to be a software developer, but I expected to be creating commercial software instead of customized financial software.

What kind of education and training did you get before you got this job, such as did you go to college, and if so, for how many years.

I majored in Computer Science in college, getting a B.S. Computer Science. During college I had a job as a systems administrator taking care of the UNIX systems at the college.

What job did you start with, and describe how you got from that job to your current job.

After my job as a systems administrator, I took a similar but more advanced job after I graduated at the college, being in charge of UNIX and Novell systems, and student managers and a C.N.E (Certified Novell Engineer) reported to me. I also managed NeXT systems and wrote NeXT software. I then worked for a consulting company, Single Source Systems, INC., with the title of UNIX specialist, where I helped clients with UNIX systems and with UNIX to Novell system integration. I also did NeXT Step development. I next worked for Bank of America writing NeXT Step software, which is now Bank of America Legacy System.

Can you describe how some of your job interviews went for you, and do you have any advice for anyone at their own interviews.

Most of them went well, even if I didn’t get the job, though I’ve only had 5 or 6 interviews in the last 19 years, and only 1 in the last 12. My advice is be prepared with answers about yourself and the work you have done, don’t sell yourself short, talk about all you have accomplished, and get over being nervous because you have to make the person interviewing you feel comfortable with you.

If you had to start over, would you choose the same career path or a different one, and why?

I would probably take the same career path, but would probably change jobs sooner, because now I have worked for Bank of America for 15 years.

Do you have any other advice about jobs and careers?
Find something you enjoy doing and that interests you because you will be with that for a long time, but odds are that you will end up in a field different than that which you went to college for.

Did you learn any life lessons in the process of getting a job, and what were they?

The life lessons I learned are what I gave as advice.

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