I've been at Esri since October 2009. After obtaining my master's degree in computer science from the University of Oxford, I worked at a media distribution company in the United Kingdom. That's where I gained my first programming experience by working on several projects, the biggest of which was the development of a desktop client application that would receive via a satellite connection, store, and play back multimedia used by radio and TV stations.
I do not have any formal GIS education, but I come from a family with a strong GIS background. My father, mother, and brother have postgraduate degrees in geodesy and civil engineering. My father is an active cartographer, and when I was younger, he took us to help him on a number of field projects in different cities throughout Bulgaria. That's how I first got interested in surveying and GIS in general.
Since joining Esri, I've been working on the .NET web client team and have been involved in a variety of projects. First, I worked on the functionality enhancements of our Web ADF manager for .NET and then I worked on the implementation of our Map Web Part and Geocode Workflow as parts of our ArcGIS for SharePoint product that is used to integrate maps and GIS content into SharePoint. I also did some prototype research for incorporating ArcGIS into Microsoft Office and am currently working on the ArcGIS Viewer/Builder for Microsoft Silverlight. Unlike my previous job, where a single product's release cycle took up to two years, here at Esri I work on so many different products and research projects, and that keeps it exciting.
Software quality is of extreme importance to Esri. We work closely with the product engineers in product development to make sure the bar is set high. One of the good things about Esri is that everyone is just a hallway away, which enables us to easily seek advice from coworkers and allows more frequent discussions between developers and product engineers to ensure high standards. This communication is invaluable.
You might ask, Why GIS? Well, unlike developers at a lot of companies that often work on systems for internal use only or websites that serve a specific need, here at Esri we have the privilege of working on products that enable others. Many of our users will take our web APIs or out-of-the-box solutions and use them to create something that serves their needs, be it a complex proprietary system for tracking marketing trends; a fast response emergency application; or just a simple, beautiful map. There is a sort of pride and satisfaction in seeing so many different industries utilizing the products each of us works on. GIS is everywhere. That's what makes it so powerful.
Sound interesting? Search current openings in Software Development/Engineering.