Digging In with Andrew Duncan

Digging In is a regular series of blog posts profiling UDig employees.  We hope this series helps you to get to know our team and understand why we dig what we do!

In honor of “take your webmaster to lunch day,” we sat down with Andrew Duncan, Director of Software Engineering and our resident webmaster to see how he would answer our Digging In questions.

UDig: Tell us a little bit about your background and your role at UDig.

AD: My passion for IT really began with my grandfather.  He purchased a computer after retiring which inspired me to take development classes in college.  Those led to a position at Capital One where I started out testing and doing rapid cycle development (an early form of Agile).  At the same time, my position afforded me the time and opportunity to learn about web-based development (the next big thing at the time) which I leveraged to build my first apps from the ground up.

I took that experience to a smaller organization in 2007, expanding my skills and playing more of a leadership role.  There, I helped build out their service layer, created an online shopping cart capability, did full-stack development and managed my first development team(s).

After several years, I was lured back to Capital One where I got to serve as an IT Director leading a larger organization and focusing on the next big thing, mobile.  Through all of these experiences, I found what I really love – building great teams and working on the latest technology – which brought me to my role at UDig.  Here, every day is about discovering the best solution for challenging client problems and creating a whole new organization.

UDig: What does “Do What You Dig” mean to you?

AD: To me, it’s all about having fun.  I love to have fun at work and bring levity to almost every conversation.  You do your best work when you are having fun doing it.  I’m lucky enough to say that if I wasn’t working in technology, it would be my hobby. So why not get paid for it?

UDig: What is the best career advice you ever received?

AD: “If you manage people long enough, you are bound to get sued.”  (laughing) I know it sounds terrible, but what that really taught me is the importance of being authentic, honest and truthful in all your interactions.  There are going to be difficult situations at work but if you can know that you’ve been open and straightforward, things will be much easier.

UDig: What is your favorite online procrastination tool?

AD:  Google. No one thing holds my attention for long, but I honestly turn to google all the time.  I’m always searching for a technology that leads me down a multitude of rabbit holes but I’m always learning.  It’s probably both the most productive and the most time-wasting technology there is.

UDig: What is the most played song in your library?

AD:  Probably something from Twenty One Pilots or The Grateful Dead, or anything in between.  I have a pretty eclectic taste in music.

UDig: What did you want to be when you grew up?

AD:  My dad was a photographer and I thought that was what I would want to do.  I loved the challenge of figuring out the right mix of exposure, film speed, aperture to get just the right shot.  I guess it isn’t surprising that I ended up in technology, tinkering to find the right solution, testing and making adjustments comes naturally. My mother would’ve said a lawyer because I always loved a good argument. (smiling)

UDig: You’ve been told you are not allowed to work tomorrow, how do you spend your day?

AD:  The perfect day would be a mix of working on the motorcycle I’m restoring, coding on one of my side projects, watching a movie and spending time with my wife and kids.