Frank Havemann

Frank Havemann

Applied Science/Computer and Cognitive Science '06

Frank Havemann is a Software Engineering and Business Consultant at Applied Predictive Technologies (APT). He is responsible for the release branch (the version of software that clients currently use) for one of his company's products, develops new features for new releases, contributes to Quality Assurance by writing internal tools, and mentors new engineers. On the business side, he works with clients analyzing their businesses in pilot engagements, sets up and maintains data sets, and serves as a resource for the client analysts using their software.

Q&A with Frank:

What kind of skills do you use?
Both soft and hard skills are crucial at APT. I use software engineering skills in particular, designing and developing code, and engineering skills in general, doing client analyses, and improving quality and processes at APT. I also use teamwork, personal and presentation skills in my interaction with team members here, and our clients.

Why did you major in CS?
I had a hard time deciding what kind of engineering I wanted to do, but CS felt closest to my two other loves, Math and Language.

How would you define a CIS graduate?
A CIS graduate is able to reason through any engineering problem. He has experience in a few programming languages, and is interested in learning more. She has sound fundamental knowledge of algorithms, data structures, compilers. He is probably a tinkerer, eager to know how things work, to try out the latest website, technologies and gadgets. She is a well rounded person, with interests and coursework outside of CIS.

What makes CS at Penn different from other universities?
What stands out at Penn is the quality of the instructors, and the fantastic students and colleagues you get to learn and work with.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Somewhere in the US or Europe, with a family, programming nifty widgets and teaching/mentoring.

How have you changed since graduating from Penn?
I have had the fortune to be able to keep learning. As a Software Engineer, I have learned a variety of real-world software engineering practices, new languages and techniques, and better coding practices. As a Business Consultant, I am learning in depth about industries, business models and ideas, and processes.

In what ways do you collaborate with co-workers and team members in your job?
At APT, everything gets done in small teams. I work with 4 colleagues on one of the products we license to clients, with 6 other colleagues on quality assurance, and with 2-4 colleagues each on 2-5 client teams at a time. It's fun, and I have great colleagues to learn from. It is also non-hierarchical, so sometimes the CEO does statistical modeling and analysis, or the VP of Engineering will write a feature.

What do you think Penn CIS has given you that you can use in your life today?
In terms of skills I specifically picked up at Penn, I would highlight Algorithms and being a TA. The analysis, reasoning, and coding skills I acquired in the algorithms course help me day to day in solving the hardest engineering challenges we face here. The teaching experience gathered being a TA in CIS helps me talk to groups, engineers or clients comfortably and coherently.

Is there a class or professor in CIS that has made a particularly strong impact on you?
My hardest class was 320, Algorithms, and I liked that it was hard. Being challenged intellectually is what makes Penn great. As a professor, Max Mintz had the greatest impact, both in teaching me, and in allowing me to learn to teach.

How have you worked on your leadership skills since graduation?
My personal belief is that leadership is acquired through contributing meaningful work and gradually taking on more responsibility. It also involves strong communication skills, and perspective, especially when it comes to allocating resources. I have recently taken on the responsibility for assigning bugs to engineers, and making sure that any problems get solved immediately. I am also mentoring recently hired engineers, and contribute to recruiting by holding info sessions, and conducting on-campus interviews.

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