As fall approached this year, Senior Software Engineer Mike Keith, became Clarity’s Director of Cloud Services. Mike has more than 18 years of engineering experience, spanning software development, systems engineering, and technical leadership. He has been at Clarity since 2015. He is a responsive, creative problem solver — someone who enjoys working with new technologies and figuring things out. Here, Mike talks about his work and what’s ahead for us in cloud technologies.
Creativity is at the core of the work I do in software development, engineering, and problem solving. You have to be creative in order to take a limited set of information on why a system isn’t working and — through trial and error — find exactly what is the issue.”Mike Keith, Senior Software Engineer, Director of Cloud Services
What did you want to be when you were a child?
“I guess my first serious interests were computers. I began to teach myself BASIC programming when I was in 6th grade on our family computer from the programming manual that came with it, which was my start to learning as much as I could about how computers worked.”
“In high school, I remember having ideas that I wanted to be a chemist, but quickly realized once I was taking A.P. Chemistry that it was not at all something I was interested in spending my life doing. At that point, I turned to computer science, which I hadn’t even really thought of as a career.”
What excites you about your work?
“Simply put, I love building things. I like to make solutions that help people solve problems. I enjoy having a hard problem, or piece of software that isn’t working correctly, and being able to figure out exactly what is wrong and how to fix it. I also really enjoy telling people about how something works and helping them understand the system.”
What is the best thing about your job?
“Working with new technologies and solving hard problems.”
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career in tech?
“You always have to have a passion to keep learning new things.”
Which of your traits or skills are you most proud of?
“My ability to quickly understand patterns and how things work together.”
Your job is technical, but does it involve imaginative/creative thinking too? Is what you do partly an art?
“Creativity is a core piece of the work I do in software development, engineering, and problem solving. I have to be creative in order to take a limited set of information on why a system isn’t working and — through trial and error — find exactly what is the issue. You can’t just follow a list of steps you have to imagine why and understand the patterns you’re seeing.”
What processes or steps have you taken to push boundaries in your work/technology?
“I think the recipe to create new and better systems, is through accepting that there can always be a better way to build something but never getting caught up in trying to build the perfect thing on your first try.”
Ahead in cloud
In his new post, Mike will provide strategic direction to Clarity’s cloud services partnerships and projects. He will stay informed of enhancements to platforms like MongoDB and Elasticsearch and identify opportunities for Clarity’s technical personnel to advance their training and certifications in modern cloud technologies, computing platforms, and database technologies. His leadership aims to broaden Clarity’s capabilities, contributing to new business and growth throughout the company.
In October, The Baltimore Business Journal featured Mike on its list of People on the Move.
More about Mike
When he’s not at work, Mike enjoys spending time with his family, and he gets into activities like tea parties with his four-year-old daughter, taking his nine-year-old son to the driving range, mountain biking, and playing board games.
… of course, like a lot of technical people, Mike admits “computers are in all parts of my life… I continue in my off-time to be the constant tech support for all family members.”
Mike recommends the book Ready Player One. He says it is an excellent read — “So much fun in the nostalgia and science fiction.”