Jason Garber is a Senior Software Engineer and Co-Founder of the Philadelphia-based tech company PromptWorks. The company offers custom software and consulting services for web and mobile applications which help their clients engage with online customers. Garber earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Eastern Mennonite University.
What is your educational background?
“I have a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration and another in computer information systems from a small, private liberal arts college. The Honors Program there gave me a broad exposure to the big ideas from a variety of disciplines and was a lot more interesting than just learning economics, business, and computers.”
What is your background in management?
“I’ve become a manager by necessity and learned on the job over the last few years. I’ve been managing my own sole proprietorship and clients for more than a decade, but managing employees since co-founding PromptWorks was a new challenge. My co-founders and I sought the advice of other tech managers we respected, but we’ve also had to realize our company is unique and had to find what works for our employees.”
How has your education fueled your management success?
“My undergraduate liberal arts education made me a better writer and presenter. In my business classes, I was introduced to the domain knowledge of management and organizational behavior and an undergrad internship led me to my first job out of college at Rosetta Stone. I’ve always been a continuous learner, but my education gave me practice sifting through loads of information, educating myself quickly and making optimal decisions. I consider most of my skills self-taught, but college gave me a chance to develop my self-identity, confidence and maturity in a way I don’t think I would have, had I entered the job market directly after high school.”
What advice would you give someone just starting out in your field?
“The good news for anyone starting out in technology is it’s a meritocracy and there are many free and low-cost resources available to learn whatever interests you. There are many blog posts, videos, and online classes that will teach you new skills, not to mention the great meet-ups and classes we have here in Philadelphia. Women especially have a great opportunity in Girl Develop It classes, and PromptWorks provides sponsorship to help give more women a pathway into our field.
This is a career, so don’t expect to master it in a couple of years. The more you know, the more you find out you don’t know! Humility and openness to being taught are vital, as are a sharp mind, abundant patience and a tolerance for the abstract. We call it software engineering for a reason. All day long we solve complex problems and try to do something that hasn’t been done exactly that way before. It’s very much like IKEA hacks or DIY home improvement, so you have to enjoy engaging in problems at that level.”
Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. She reports on various topics such as: Social Media, Local Events, Entertainment, Food and Drink and more. Her work can be found at http://firstsendmedia.com/