Technical Lead/Program Manager
"Growing up, I always had an underlying interest in working within the IC, as I had close family members who built careers within this community. Throughout high school and my early years in college, I was not exactly sure what direction I wanted to take once I hit the "real world." It was during my undergraduate years at Virginia Tech where I had the opportunity to intern at one of the IC agencies. It was there that I became more aware of the sense of mission and service to our country that comes with working within those walls. Upon graduation, I was hired by American Management Systems (AMS) as a developer, working on projects supporting various Department of Defense customers. With a few years of experience under my belt, I realized that I wanted to get back into the IC. I was able to convince my employer to support me for the appropriate clearances and I finally received my tickets.
My first full-time role within the IC was a Business Process Engineer. In this role, I helped stand up various applications within an IC directorate. From there, I slowly ramped back into the development arena supporting Data Engineering. I gravitated to, at the time, a fairly new construct called ETL (Extract, Transform, Load). I served on a few different ETL teams working my way from ETL developer, Scrum Lead, and now as Technical Team Lead at Avantus Federal working on various mission applications and big data environments."
"Working in data engineering at Avantus, I think the biggest excitement or sense of achievement comes when you find out that data you had helped bring to the forefront for applications, analysts, and/or data scientists has some form of mission impact. At times, we're dealing with billions of rows, spanning multiple data sets containing many different records. All it takes is for one piece of data matched up to another to potentially make a connection that provides intelligence value. When that happens, it ties the work we do to the mission, provides clarity, and gives a sense of accomplishment."
"I believe we'll continue to see the migration of systems and processes to the Cloud. Hybrid and multi-cloud solutions will become more prevalent with having the ability to choose among multiple cloud platforms. With the increased utilization of cloud platforms, I think we'll also see more focused AI/ML principles being applied to big data problems. "Speed to Mission" will also continue to be a focus. Getting mission-valuable data in the hands of analysts and scientists as quick as possible is a constant focus on data initiatives. There will be a greater focus on tools and technologies that can rapidly take a data set from its raw/source format, transform and condition it based on business requirements, and quickly deliver it to the necessary data consumers."
"I advise those considering a career in the IC to maintain patience and flexibility. Patience in that obtaining the proper credentials to operate within the IC world takes time. I would also stress flexibility, in that there are many different projects with different missions and timelines. It may take a few projects to find that right fit...and that right fit may not last all that long. Be flexible with a focus on honing the skills and expertise that interest you."
Favorite TV Show: Is it bad to say Tiger King? I think, like most, I've made my way into the basement of Netflix in trying to find decent things to watch. I've taken the opportunity to revisit my favorite series, Breaking Bad, and I'm now making my way through Sopranos, which, crazy to say, is the first time I'm watching it.
Favorite Podcast: I'll have to also give a shout out to my Avantus co-worker, Chad Kim, and his Connections podcast. He has discussions with industry leaders that are definitely worth a listen.
"I advise those considering a career in the IC to maintain patience and flexibility. Patience in that obtaining the proper credentials to operate within the IC world takes time. I would also stress flexibility, in that there are many different projects with different missions and timelines. It may take a few projects to find that right fit...and that right fit may not last all that long. Be flexible with a focus on honing the skills and expertise that interest you."Scott Bouldin