There, Here, and Where I'm Going: A Software Developer's Tale

There, Here, and Where I'm Going: A Software Developer's Tale

Today was my last day at Radio Systems Corporation. The decision to leave did not come over night and it wasn’t easy to make.

I started my career fresh out of college as a Software Engineer in 2011 with Health Care Service Corporation in Chicago, IL. I spent two years with HCSC working on high-volume transaction processing which were COBOL programs converted to asynchronous Java programs spend across several machines. As far as the technicalities of these programs I don’t remember much, but what I do remember are the people I worked with.

The gang at HCSC really got along beautifully. The early bird crowd would always get breakfast in the morning from either HQ or the grocery store cafe next door. Dean would always get oatmeal with skim milk and raspberries, Greg would make a comment about how predictable Dean was, Jomar and I would laugh our asses off like were were in the audience of some sitcom.

Back in my single days, I took much better care of myself. When 10:30 AM came along Jomar was at my desk with gym bag in hand and he kept me motivated to keep lifting and running. He was terrible wingman because he was more handsome and in better shape than me.

In 2013, I left Health Care Service Corporation due to the seemingly instability in the industry around the time of the Affordable Health Care Act. I found a posting for Radio Systems Corporation as a Java Developer in Knoxville, TN. I had never been to Knoxville before but from the moment I got here it seemed like the perfect match of city and town. I grew up in a small town of 1,200 people and moving to Chicago was a big leap for me.

I have had many accomplishments at RSC over the last four and half years working primarily in ERP systems and B2B e-commerce. I can remember a lot of the technicalities of the programs I’ve written and worked in but I’m sure most of that will fade away over time.

I know I’ll remember how “whistling in a building is bad luck according to Ukrainian mothers.” Or the time a dog had some very bad stomach problems after lunch one day. It was to the point where I just went home. The next day was worst after the carpet cleaners came, I walked in the office, turned around and drove back home.

Like HCSC, the gang at RSC got along really well. The team would usually get together for a Monday morning coffee run. Come 10:30 AM the message “Lunch?” is begin debated and becomes decided before 11. We all jumped into a couple cars and had lunch. Upon returning to the office, we coaxed someone to run upstairs to grab the basketball and we would play a game of horse.

We all made up ton of rules and different shots like “Doctor Who”, “Mulligan”, “Doctor Mulligan”, “Lt. Dan”.

I guess what I’m trying to get across is that when you leave a company you take more than just skills and techniques away. You also take the memories of the relationships that made the job unique and special. We put such a high value on technologies and frameworks that we often forget to value the people around us until we lose them. One of many points David Neal drove home to me during his keynote address at CodeStock this year.

I had been considering other opportunities for a couple of years before deciding to leave. I feel like I had finished everything I sat out to complete and I have no regrets (and no regerts).

Monday is a fresh start for me and I have a lot of new challenges to overcome, but I’m confident in my skills because of the encouragement my teammates and other developers in the community have gave. Thank you to all the teammates I’ve had at HCSC and RSC, each one of you have shaped my career positively for the last seven years.

Dennis Eugene Stepp, Jr. avatar
About Dennis Eugene Stepp, Jr.
I am a software developer in Knoxville, TN. I'm also a game/web developer with Unibear Studio, and stage manager/web developer with the Earl Park Fall Festival Foundation. My interests include: process and workflow optimization, automation, JAMstack technologies, software architecture, object oriented languages, and game development. I also collect retro PC/console video games, dabble in gardening and woodworking. I have a passion for craft beer, especially while playing recreational ice hockey.