December 7, 2020 - 10:06 am

Tech Career Profile: Ryan Beaver, VP of Operations at Altair Software

By Keri Amlotte, Director of Marketing

Ryan Beaver is a software developer, a technical leader who is always up for a challenge, and a coach of early-career developers. He leads the new developer program for tccodes at 20Fathoms, where participants hone their skillsets, learn about what it takes to be a member of a professional team, and prepare to ace their next job interview.

Ryan Beaver
Ryan Beaver, VP of Operations at Altair Software

What is your professional background?

I’ve spent roughly 13 years as a developer/architect, four years leading development teams as a director, and the last couple of years as a VP. During that time, I’ve also taught computer science classes at Northwestern Michigan College and now I’m happy to continue my passion for teaching as a tccodes instructor.

What are your responsibilities in your current role?

My primary focus is to build new applications for divisions that struggle to do so on their own. We have a huge collection of companies that are traditionally older in their lifecycle and profitable. However, growing through new product development sits outside of their traditional comfort zones, as they’re focused on maintenance. I lead a team of bright developers that run from industry to industry creating crazy projects to drive organic financial growth.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

Coaching amazing developers who build incredible software. Up until recently, I thought the goal of my career was to find the best architecture, work process, or tools to help us be successful. At this point, it’s clear that investing in my developers is by far the most effective way to give my team(s) the greatest chance of success.

What interested you in working with 20Fathoms on tccodes?

In all my interactions with 20Fathoms, it feels like an organization focused on helping others realize their dreams. For some, those dreams might be successfully launching a startup and providing a foundation for a long-incubated idea. Whereas others find opportunities to realize their career goals through job opportunities and continuing education. I couldn’t be more impressed, or happier to participate.

Can you tell us about the tccodes new developer program that you’re leading?

The new developer cohort is for those who are young in their careers as developers. We’re focused on learning software development fundamentals through 1) S.O.L.I.D. design principles, 2) a focus on processes that drive value to their end users, and 3) offering the same coaching to participants that I do to my developers at work.

I’ve been impressed by the passion of the participants. They all have school or professional careers, family lives, and other responsibilities to attend too. Yet they kept pushing their projects forward, oftentimes in the late evenings or early mornings to feed their passion for software development.

Keith Kelly, tccodes Program Manager, describes you as a coach for new developers. What is your approach to supporting new professionals?

My hope is that I add confidence to the developers through drilling fundamental design concepts while providing a helping hand as they struggle with hurdles. I think all of us are looking for good reference points in our careers. Something to point to and say, ‘I’m making progress even when the voice in my head says I’m not.’ Having walked the same academic life that many of these participants have walked, I hope to offer those reassuring reference points.

What advice do you give to someone who is considering a career in software development?

Be a passionate self-studier. Take the insecurities of all you don’t know and all the experience you lack and drive them away with disciplined self-study. Schedule two one-hour blocks a week to work on a new language, tech stack, or side project. This will provide significant benefits to your skillset and self-confidence.

How do you think the job market looks in Northern Michigan for new developers?

That’s a great question. The Traverse City area is seeing far greater growth in the technical arena than I could have imagined 5+ years ago. The fact that 20Fathoms is helping to drive a technical renaissance for the area provides real optimism for the near future.  Additionally, software development lends itself well to remote work. Having been a remote worker for 10+ years, I know it can be quite successful. Having two thriving paths for software developers in beautiful Northern Michigan provides meaningful options to local developers that likely didn’t exist 10 years ago.

What do you like to do for fun?

I’m a bit of an exercise nut with running, cycling, and Muay Thai. But I also love swimming with the kids, watching old Hitchcock movies with my wife, and reading whenever I get a chance.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about yourself or about the tccodes new developer program?

If you’re young in your development or product owner career, then the tccodes new developer program may be for you. I customize the content and interactions to the experience level and needs of each participant, and would be happy to have you join us.