We are HERE: An engineer with a passion for music
As we work towards making the world a smarter place using location, this member of our software team finds himself working on the most exciting project of his career.
For the next of our employee profiles, we chat with Lead Engineer Bruce Hanson from our Seattle office.
Q: What can you tell us about your role at HERE?
We’re a small team of seven software engineers and quality assurance engineers. As the senior person on the team, I spend part of my time coding and part of my time planning future work and supporting other team members. We work with an agile methodology and two-week sprints, so we’re constantly building, adapting and molding our code base as we grow the system organically.
Right now we are working on a platform that will process huge streams of data for use in predictive analytics and machine-learning algorithms. Our aim is the capacity to respond to events out in the world quickly, reliably and predictably.
In fact, I consider this current initiative by far and away the most interesting and exciting project I’ve worked on in my career. I’m getting older and to find myself at a company with the capabilities and potential that HERE represents is thrilling.
Q: What is your background & how did you end up at HERE?
I grew up in Minneapolis and earned a double major in physics and philosophy at the University of Minnesota. I’ve also taken graduate-level software engineering courses at Seattle University and I hold an Master’s of Fine Arts in visual arts from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
After my undergraduate work, I moved to Utah and spent a few years as a ski bum— an experience I’ve never regretted. Then I got a job at one of the first cell phone companies in the country, which involved installing the first cell system in Salt Lake City.
During that time, I worked with a guy named Paul from Bell Labs who showed me the Unix shell that ran on the main computer for the telephone switching system. He taught me the basics of shell programming, which I then used to automate as much of my job as possible. This was my entry into software development. Over the years, I’ve worked for a number of small software companies, the latest of which was Medio, acquired by HERE in 2014.
Q. What are your hobbies and interests and how do you manage a work/life balance?
An advantage of living close to the HERE office is that I’m able to use the time once spent commuting on my creative pursuits. Outside my work at HERE, I am obsessed with music and the visual arts. I play the bass guitar in two Seattle-area bands; one focused on classic rock and blues, the other leaning more towards the soul and R&B end of the spectrum. This summer I’ll be out playing at clubs and outdoor festivals two or three times a month.
My wife and I enjoy seeing both of our adult daughters frequently, and we take full advantage of the music and art scene that is now within blocks of our home.
With my recent move, I also now have a small space for painting and drawing; returning to these mediums after years of working in digital media on large-scale video projection projects.
Q: What inspires you about working at HERE in Seattle?
After living in a quiet suburb for many years, I recently moved to downtown Seattle. The city is undergoing a tech renaissance driven by companies like Amazon, where my daughter works just a few blocks from the HERE office. I’m able to walk to work and it’s fun to live where the streets, coffee shops and restaurants are lively and vibrant with a palpable excitement
As we lay the foundation for the HERE of the future, I view my work as a small, yet central part of creating the next generation HERE platform.
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