From Software Consumer to Software Developer

Having worked as a software developer at DoubleMap for a little over a year, I would like to take some time to reflect on my experiences. Based on my career path since graduating from college, along with the slew of jobs I mosied through while attending college (which found me flipping burgers, selling TVs, moving furniture, and making eyeglasses), I can honestly say that DoubleMap provides the combination of team, environment, and work I have always wanted to be a part of. My name is Jake Krebs and I would like to discuss the path I took from being a software consumer to a software developer, and how being a part of DoubleMap allows me to solve important problems affecting thousands of users on a regular basis.

When I enrolled in classes for my first semester of college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I ended up switching majors several times before refusing to declare one and deciding to only enroll in classes that had interesting descriptions. When it came time to enroll in classes for my third semester, I paid no attention to course titles or departments when making my selection. I went solely on the description of the curriculum. On the first day of my fourth semester, I was surprised to discover that I had enrolled in three geography classes and one anthropology class. Feeling that the consistency was a good sign, I decided to declare a geography major and an anthropology minor within the first week of starting classes. I loved learning about different cultures and how they interact with their environment, shaping it in both positive and negative ways and developing specific characteristics influenced by their natural surroundings.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t initially sure what I was going to do career-wise after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in geography — that was, until I took my first geographic information science (GIS) course. While studying this technical field, I learned how to work with geographical data and how to perform geospatial data analysis using GIS software. I started a GIS internship with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) after finishing my final semester of college and accepted a permanent position with INDOT upon its completion. While in this position, I honed my GIS skills and began learning to program with Python so I could automate simple tasks that I no longer wanted to do manually with GIS software.

Word started to spread within my small office that I had been developing my programming skills and soon I found myself working on bigger and more complex tasks. It wasn’t long before nearly all of my time in the office was spent writing new or maintaining old programs. Initially, I was just happy to be learning new skills that could instantly be applied to my workflow. However, I soon came to the realization that I no longer wanted to just be a software consumer. I wanted to use the skills I had developed to improve or develop new software while still being able to solve real world problems that improved people’s lives. A few years later, I have fortunately found that here at DoubleMap.

During my time here, I have had the opportunity to solve important problems in the transit industry and work with geospatial data in new and interesting ways. I have seen firsthand how our clients interact with our software and been able to use their crucial insight to inform our products’ designs. I have especially enjoyed working on projects that help improve the paratransit rider experience, and am glad that we have had so many opportunities to work with amazing clients that put these riders’ needs first. I have been afforded the opportunity to pursue my passion of developing new skills and learning new technologies here, all while having fun working with some of the most dedicated and hard-working people I have ever met. I can’t wait to see what DoubleMap has in store for me, our clients, and the transit industry!