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Employee Spotlight: Ben Hurwitz, Principal Software Engineer

Meet Ben – the Builder of Great Software

It takes a team of incredible people to deliver exceptional technology and service at Yottaa. This month we profile Ben Hurwitz from our software development team!

What is your role at Yottaa?

I am a software developer on the platform team. As part of the platform team, I typically write java backend software. Which means my projects don’t create user interfaces, but rather satisfy requests to access and optimize web content.

How does your work impact Yottaa customers?

My work adds new functionality and features to our eCommerce acceleration products. Sometimes these are tangible new features that our customers can see directly, and other times I’m working on improvements to help our platform run more efficiently. I’m also in charge of fixing any identified bugs in our software. Because we are a relatively flat organization, it’s common for me to be involved in multiple different projects at any one time. For example, although I’m not directly responsible for it, if I notice a problem with a customer’s configuration after seeing unusual activity, I alert our client success team. So although I work on the backend of our software, I’m never too far away from our customers.

What did you do before Yottaa that has helped you most in your current role?

Every job provides a lot of good experience, and I’ve worked at several. For me, jobs where I used web technologies and did back-end programming in Java helped “set the stage” for a lot of my work here, so that I could be productive soon after joining the team. Additionally, deploying applications to virtual machines and cloud platforms in my last couple of companies helped me get up to speed with the modern SaaS services Yottaa provides. One of my prior jobs was at Demandware (now Salesforce Commerce Cloud), an eCommerce platform provider. This experience taught me how retail websites are constructed, and helped me understand how retailers (our customers) interact and view technology like ours.

What do you like about your work at Yottaa?

I love building new products and capabilities in our software. For example, I contributed the component to our Rapid CTRL service that returns the correct configuration javascript for each page load. It’s rewarding to be able to contribute to a successful product launch – in the case of Rapid, the name describes both the end result and the development pace, for all components.

Do you have a favorite project you are most proud of?

My favorite project was the work in the Rapid CTRL product that I mentioned before, that delivers custom configuration for customers in the form of javascript to execute in a web page. I was given the freedom to select specific technologies within the product that shaped what we built. The project was successful and has performed well for our customers, beyond our expectations. It’s rewarding to build new software from scratch that solves a new problem. Not every developer has that opportunity.

What brief advice do you have for others wanting to enter this profession?

My advice would be to gain a solid foundation in the academic parts of computer science. That doesn’t mean that you have to study it in school, because all of this information is available online. But it is important to learn algorithms – this knowledge is very useful and will serve you well throughout your career. Beyond that, just practice. Practice writing computer programs, practice creating tests for the programs, and learn about how to measure performance and make your programs better.

What makes Yottaa a great place to work?

My favorite part about working at Yottaa is the people. The folks here are both technologically skilled and excellent collaborators. For example, sometimes I’ll be implementing a back-end service, and I might work with one of our UI designers to coordinate messages between services, or together we design a shared data schema. Although I mostly interact with the engineering team, I enjoy socializing with everyone. Our upper management has created and maintains a great workplace culture.

What do you do when you’re not at the office?

When I am not at the office, I like to spend time with family, play video games, and follow top level chess. I’m also a fan of conventional sports, particularly baseball and the Boston Red Sox.  Like a lot of us in the Boston area, I’ve been basking in the glow of the recent World Series and Super Bowl wins by our teams!

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