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Tim Kaetzel for DealerOn Dev

Posted on • Originally published at Medium on

Why Car Lovers Make Great Software Engineers

Some of our best software engineers love cars, and we don’t believe this to be happenstance. Since DealerOn’s inception in 2004, we’ve found that automotive pursuits come with many of the same skills and challenges as a career in software engineering. In a regular work day, we see the melding of the traits tied to both pursuits: ingenuity, a curiosity for how things work, intuitive thinking, and a nearly obsessive desire to perfect the imperfect. By utilizing our personal passions in a professional capacity , DealerOn has shaped software development in the automotive industry through the lens of car enthusiasts.

Sitting pretty at a DealerOn company picnic

Car lovers appreciate the satisfaction of finally fixing an issue. After sitting in our garage trying to hunt down and fix a problem with compulsive dedication, we are proud of our work, and we love showing it off. This passion is deeply rooted in a love of experimentation — seeing what works and what doesn’t work. We love how our car is our clay to mold into whatever we want it to be, with ownership of results and pride for the world to see. At DealerOn, we strive to create an environment in which our software engineers experiment, find their niche, and become whatever they wish to be. That could mean quietly building out the infrastructure of our future, or leading the charge to spearhead initiatives.

While car people keep up with proactive car maintenance, plenty of others put it off until it’s necessary… That’s what technical debt is.

While car people keep up with proactive car maintenance, plenty of others put it off until it’s necessary. This could be waiting until the needle hovers over “E” to fill up, or it could be waiting until horrific sights and sounds are expelling from the engine bay to get an oil change. Well, that’s what technical debt is. Car enthusiasts solve these problems by being organized, caring about peak performance, and being willing to put forth additional effort, all of which are desirable traits in software engineers. At DealerOn, we have faced the challenges of exponential growth over the past decade while proactively maintaining our foundations to stay on the bleeding edge by leveraging these traits as a company.

Many car enthusiasts like to make their cars faster by swapping out for a bigger turbo or a bigger exhaust. As software engineers, we make swaps for performance as well, such as swapping out a small whitespace-removing regex in favor of a string replacement to accelerate site-speed and stability (Stack Overflow made a similar post about a week after we deployed our change).

Meanwhile, other enthusiasts focus on giving their cars an aesthetic face-lift. DealerOn is currently preparing for the biggest UX overhaul in company history in our aim to give users the most cohesive, clear, engaging experience possible. This has come with its fair share of trials to overcome, which we will share insight on in this blog along the way.

DealerOn Dev field trip to go-karts (with Luigi)

Every car enthusiast has hit a point of laying on the ground, wrench in hand, overwhelmed with mechanical woes and ready to throw in the towel. At this point, one has to remember why they ended up there in the first place — what they love and what drives their passion. It’s the chance to build something with pride and find a unique niche. That same principle is what makes us look forward to coming to the office every day. Whether you’re tenured with ten years of experience or landing your first professional gig, DealerOn offers the opportunity to pursue your professional and personal passions. As we continue to grow into our roles, we solidify our development team’s core values and wear them as a badge of honor. We trust each other, our process, and our purpose of creating the best development environment and experience for our users.

Whether you’re tenured with ten years of experience or landing your first professional gig, DealerOn offers the opportunity to pursue your professional and personal passions.

Our culture is standing on the shoulders of our engineers’ passions, and it shows. Come show day, it’s all about the quality of the build — nothing else matters. We have an exciting road ahead of us, so if you’d like to ride along, stay tuned.


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