I majored in environmental geoscience at Sheffield University in the UK, and during that time, I started learning about GIS and satellite imagery. It was the fascinating pictures from space that got me really interested in the technology because it could be used in so many diverse ways. After a couple of unusual career side steps (being a cycle messenger in London followed by taking a four-month cycling trip from Mexico to Costa Rica), I got my first mapping job working for the environmental team in the government water department in San Jose, Costa Rica, where I built a map set of all the designated areas in the country to help with its field activities. I later worked for a civil engineering firm on GIS projects in the UK, Nepal, and Bhutan; then for Esri Australia and Esri UK before coming to Redlands in October 2010.
I'm one of the lead product engineers for the Applications Group within Product Development. As the name implies, we create apps and software development kits (SDKs) for our users to enable GIS to be used on a range of different devices. Product engineers help define the product's design and functionality, as opposed to writing all of its code. We help test the products to ensure that they function as our users would expect them to, as well as create documents, samples, and templates so that they are easy to use. We build applications and SDKs that enable ArcGIS to be used on smartphones and tablets, in embedded systems, and on traditional laptops and desktops. We support 10 different platforms, including iOS, Mac, Android, and many of the different Windows platforms. Our applications are designed with specific user workflows in mind. Apps on comparable platforms should be able to achieve the same goal to ensure that it is easy for our users to understand the capabilities of the ArcGIS system.
What I like most about Esri is being able to work with so many interesting and talented people. It's a great learning experience—you walk down the hallway and hear complex discussions going on and see people writing on whiteboards while talking in serious depth. It fascinates me that there are so many people at Esri who are specialists in such small areas of our technology world. There are world leaders here as well as lots of fun people to work with.
Sound interesting? Search current openings in ArcGIS Product Development.