It’s not every day that you meet a software architect who has built solutions for Top 10 Fortune 500 companies and has also spent considerable time helping bootstrapping startups. When you ask Eric Roland about his career experience, it is exactly the way he describes it. Roland has more than 15 years building software solutions, including a stint as senior software engineer at CNET Network’s TechRepublic site. Roland is currently involved with a new project as software architect and co-founder of an innovative travel community, Oh Hey World, Inc., and he is also working on an undisclosed real estate application.
According to Roland, Oh Hey World is the inside connection to the world around you. The people you meet and spend time with while traveling make or break travel—they connect you with people who have shared experiences and interests for you to spend your time with wherever your travels take you. They accomplish this through a dashboard that enables you to see the location of everyone who matters.
The founders of Oh Hey World have a mission to inspire every person to explore the world by fostering an environment where you can make meaningful connections with others with shared passions, as well as with the
Roland was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Q: During your career you have worked for major content companies such as CNET Networks and also did your time at startups. What do you find more rewarding?
A: I have focused on startups because I like to get things done with a minimum of bureaucracy. The larger a company, the less ability you have to execute. In startups you can’t hide. You also have to deal with a lot of ambiguity and pressure.
Q: During your stint at CNET Networks, you must have spent a lot of time working with CMS systems. If a developer is tasked with building or modifying a CMS, what platform or language would you suggest?
A: On the web, I primarily use Ruby on Rails, so Locomotive would be a top choice for a CMS. Drupal is extremely popular, so that would be a consideration as well.
Q: Do you have any special tricks or secrets for improving page load speeds or creating a user experience?
Q: What does an average day look like for you and what is the best part about your job?
A: I work from home, so my day starts around 7 AM. I tend to finish my day around 5:30 or 6 PM. I love working on new interesting problems and being completely in charge of the technology side of things.
Q: It’s been said that one of the top skills needed for being a developer is problem-solving skills. What is your take on that and why?
A: I think that that is very true. You have to love solving problems and be tenacious about achieving results. You need to be able to work independently and figure things out on your own. I learn something new on every project. There is always a new problem to solve as technology and techniques are constantly changing.
Q: Can you tell us about one of your proudest moments working as a developer?
A: Being a lead developer for a team that assisted TelaPoint to a successful 40-million-dollar exit.
Q: What is the best development advice anyone has ever given you?
A: My professor in graduate school suggested that I focus on mastering C++ instead of learning Visual Basic. At the time VB was on the rise and many employers wanted that skill set. I think that if you can be a good developer in a harder language it makes it easier to transition to higher-level languages.
Q: Large data, social media, mobile, and the cloud are all areas that have had an impact on software development. How have you been affected by the changes the software development industry has seen in the past five years?
A: I have completely formed my tech base on those exact things. If I hadn’t started doing iOS apps and RoR on AWS, I am not exactly sure where I would be today. I reduced my company’s monthly operation expense by 90 percent by moving my real estate Saas application to the cloud using open source software.
Q: What technology has taken you by surprise and what do you predict the next hot product or application will be?
A: The advent and rise of the smartphone/tablet and cloud has been awesome to see. I couldn’t have predicted how this would change the computing landscape. I don’t try to predict the future. I simply try to follow what people are saying.
Q: I recently interviewed one of the world’s leading experts in jQuery. He shocked me by saying that he hated jQuery and wished it would go away. What programming language do you hate and why?
Q: Which programming language is your favorite?
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
A: I think one of the keys to being a great developer is the ability to recognize and design patterns in development.