Choose your own adventure: Why 4 technologists chose to work in their industries

by Alton Zenon III
April 30, 2019

It’s not easy finding a way to make a living doing something you’re passionate about. First, you must determine what inspires you, then find the perfect company that can support you and match your zeal. Lucky for you, the world of Chicago tech offers a huge diversity of roles in an ever-expanding list of industries.

We spoke to technologists at four companies across a number of fields to learn how they found their golden tickets working at companies that capture their enthusiasm.

 

Reverb team members working at computer

Reverb is a digital music marketplace that provides musicians, and those interested in becoming them, with a platform to buy, sell and learn about music equipment. Data Engineer Laura Moreno said she was driven to the field of music by a desire to help more of it get created.

 

What was it about your industry that drove you to want to work within it?

Whether you’re a classically trained violinist, a couch guitar player, or you don’t play an instrument, music is a part of your life in some way. It’s exciting to know that a piece of code I write could help a small business sell a guitar or a keyboard to a musician that will go on to use that instrument to create a piece of music. Even though I’m not a musician, I get to play a small part in the industry and the overall creative process by helping musical instruments and musicians find each other. 

There’s a passion for and an intimate understanding of the product that you can’t get when employees aren’t also users.”

 

What was it about your company’s work within the industry that attracted you to it, versus anywhere else? 

The people drew me to Reverb. While not everyone is musically inclined, many of our team members are musicians who use Reverb on a daily basis, so there’s a passion for and an intimate understanding of the product that you can’t get when employees aren’t also users. We’re constantly hearing great ideas and getting helpful feedback from people across the company.

Additionally, it’s exciting to use technology in an industry that’s traditionally been less technical. Both musicians and music store owners got into the industry because they know and love musical instruments, so the tech and business side of things doesn’t always come naturally. We get to act as an extension of their teams, creating tools and services that make their lives easier so that they can focus on the music and the instruments.

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Two RedShelf team members working at a computer

RedShelf partners with publishers and colleges to provide students with an affordable, digital marketplace to buy textbooks and a cloud-based platform to read them on. Full Stack Developer Adan Sandoval said major flaws in the education system and a desire to help students drove him to the company. 

 

What was it about the industry that drove you to want to work within it?

Today's students are burdened with debts they carry far into adulthood and they're oftentimes not equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in the modern workforce because of outdated tools and curriculum. Part of this disconnect stems from the inertia of an existing profitable system with little incentive to change; there's a lot of opportunity for improving this system. 

Our workforce needs an educational system that functions as its pipeline for skilled, in-demand workers.”

 

What was it about your company’s work within the industry that attracted you to it, versus anywhere else?

Our workforce needs an educational system that functions as its pipeline for skilled, in-demand workers. In RedShelf, I saw a company whose mission is to modernize a crucial part of our higher education system for the benefit of students, educators, publishers, and even employers by providing access to more affordable and effective educational materials.

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Bringg team in matching shirts taking a group photo

Bringg is a logistics solution provider for enterprise companies in industries like retail, restaurants, services and consumer packaged goods. Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Field Operations Tamir Gotfried said he was drawn to the industry because of his interest in its operations and its future potential.

 

What was it about your industry that drove you to want to work within it?

For most people, supply chain or logistics is usually seen as the boring part of any business, but I found the process fascinating. Some of the most talked-about tech advancements today, including drones, autonomous vehicles, and robots, are being developed specifically to address the need for more automation in delivery processes. It’s an exciting time to work in logistics and delivery tech. 

For most people, supply chain or logistics is usually seen as the boring part of the business, but I found the process fascinating.”

 

What was it about your company’s work within the industry that attracted you to it, versus anywhere else?

What attracted me to Bringg was its culture and its unique approach to technology. Bringg has an unbeatable cultural DNA: transparent and direct communication, the ability to try new things without fear of being blamed for failure; a ‘get stuff done’ attitude, and a penchant for going above and beyond to ensure customer success. Also, the platform is the most forward-looking solution I’ve seen in the industry. 

 

GreenKey Technologies team in a group office photo

GreenKey Technologies pulls data insights from audio recordings and text in OTC markets trading communications so that its users can make informed decisions. Senior Data Scientist Matthew Goldey said his educational background and a desire to assist others keep him happy at the company. 

 

What was it about your industry that drove you to want to work within it?

Fintech is a space with great clarity around what matters. I love working on products that people use on a daily basis. The financial industry as a whole has a solid focus on mission and deliverables.

Coming from a background in theoretical chemistry, I love linear algebra in whatever form I can get it.”

 

What was it about your company’s work within the industry that attracted you to it, versus anywhere else? 

First, data science within GreenKey is mission critical. The work we do delivers data science products into existing voice-driven workflows and that real world impact is exciting and critical to my job satisfaction. 

Second, coming from a background in theoretical chemistry, I love linear algebra in whatever form I can get it. Most of the time, the simplest models are the appropriate choice for data science in production due to computational cost. Fortunately for me, parsing data from voice streams requires neural networks and heavy computational lifting. At the end of the day, I'm grateful that our work makes people's lives easier, whether for over-the-counter market brokers or for 911 operators.

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