Kevin Solinger

Kevin Solinger

Applied Science/Computer Science '06

Kevin Solinger is an Applied Science/Computer Science graduate of 2006. He works for NYSE Euronext Advanced Trading Solutions as a Technical Consultant. His role involves supporting and visiting clients who have installed their software. He handles installations, upgrades, debugging, and maintenance, and he manages back-and-forth with development when new features are requested, bugs found, etc. His "programming" consists of scripting, client developer support (coding to a proprietary API), configuration, and analyzing existing code.

Q&A with Kevin:

What kind of skills do you use in your job?
I make use of both technical and customer-facing skills. I would categorize the required technical skills as more those of an engineer than programmer. The role involves problem-solving with constantly changing variables. I find my background in programming useful, but my background in computer science and problem solving in general is invaluable. In addition, a large part of the role is client management for which I rely on communication and interpersonal skills.

Why did you major in CS?
Coming out of high school, I genuinely enjoyed making a computer do what I wanted in order to solve a problem. I became more involved in CS, and I also saw the potential for a wide range of career opportunities.

How would you define a CIS graduate?
A CIS graduate is an engineer at heart - someone who looks at an issue and its parameters and can't help but try to figure out a solution.

What makes CS at Penn different from other universities?
Having little experience with CS in other universities, I would only venture to say that the wide range of disciplines offered by the University as a whole and the encouragement to study other offerings plays an important role in CS at Penn.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I have a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, so I hope to be working for a small company with much potential, ideally with some ownership.

In what ways do you collaborate with co-workers and team members in your job?
Part of my role is to act as a liaison between our clients and our software developers. Over time, I have developed close working relationships with developers who handle specific areas of our code base. In certain high-priority situations, I am able to leverage those relationships to get timely responses, and in other situations, I am able to test and give immediate feedback on code changes that they have implemented. There is also valuable collaboration among my colleagues in roles similar to my own. We work together closely to share solutions that we have implemented that may be useful at other sites.

What do you think Penn CIS has given you that you can use in your life today?
Overall, Penn CIS has given me a framework for problem solving. I certainly gained a useful knowledge base in programming, operating systems, etc., but what I truly apply day-to-day is a logical and practical approach to problem solving that others around me can understand and appreciate.

Is there a class or professor in CIS that has made a particularly strong impact on you?
One of the things I value most about my time in Penn CIS was being taken out of my comfort zone and forced to approach a new problem in a new way. To that end, I consider the Mathematical Foundations in Computer Science courses immensely valuable - perhaps not at the time, but certainly in retrospect.

How have you worked on your leadership skills since graduation?
I endeavor to be constantly developing and improving my leadership skills, and I believe that real world experience is the best way to do so. As I have become more experienced in my role with NYSE, I've had more opportunities to work with others in a leadership role.

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