Carnegie Mellon University

For MSIT-SE alumnus Steven Coulter, one of the advantages to taking courses online while employed full-time as the IT Director at AssetGenie, Inc (AGI) was the opportunity for him to immediately apply his knowledge to his work where he spent half his day in management and the other half developing software. His colleagues, however, may not have agreed. He recalled, “I'm sure my development team was thrilled when I finally graduated because I was pushing some new tool or technique on them every week after I learned something new. At the time I was very close to [AGI] software products and was actually doing a lot of development myself — I would learn a new static analysis tool or a modeling technique and apply it to our code at work and share it with the developers.”

He soon came to the realization that in business time and monetary resources are limited, and that he would need to be selective about what he could implement. This required him to be reflective about his work in order to determine which tools and processes would bring the most value to his projects. “For me that was the management of software teams and the requirements engineering processes.”

Teaching is Leading

In his current role as the CTO of AGI, he continues to share his knowledge and help his team members to thrive in their roles. Recently, during part of the training process for new employees, Steven hosted a series of mini-lectures highlighting the technical and management skills that he learned during his time in the MSE program and other life experiences. “It's a great feeling to watch them ‘get it’ and then begin to apply that knowledge to their jobs. I’ve also enjoyed watching my senior staff grow their management and leadership abilities over the years — we’ve worked a long time together and, both as individuals and a company, have significantly grown. It’s nice to look back and see how far we’ve come.”

Looking Towards the Future

While Steven greatly enjoys the leadership and management aspects of his current position, he also misses being involved in a product project at the development level. At some point in the near future he would like to “take more ownership of a product at AGI, or start a side project with my peers from the MSIT-SE program, or be more involved in the community by contributing to an open source project, or mentor at a coding boot camp.”