What’s it like to develop Exonaut software for the US military? We meet 4C Software Engineer, Ryan Campbell to find out, and discover more about Orlando, working in a cross-Atlantic team, and why he joined 4C Strategies.
Ryan, you have an unusual background for a software engineer. Tell us about it.
I majored in Accounting and started working at an accounting firm in 2017, specializing in tax law. I had my career planned out, but it didn’t take long for me to realize I needed to reconsider– I wasn’t fulfilled. I’d always been interested in tech and a friend of mine persuaded me to pursue this interest and educate as a developer. And here I am at 4C.
How did you find 4C?
I was looking for a company in Orlando where I could learn and grow with the organization. I’d met a few consumer-facing and gaming companies, but I wanted to contribute to something bigger – developing training solutions for the US Army and Marines could give me that. Before joining, I made a point of speaking to the Orlando military software development team – they only had good things to say about the working environment and culture which convinced me 4C was the right company to join.
I am originally from Wilmington, Delaware and came to Orlando to study at the University of Central Florida (UCF). It didn’t take me long to realize that Orlando is a great place to live. There’s plenty of things to do – if you want great restaurants and nightlife there’s downtown, for families there is the whole Disney and Universal area. Then there’s the fantastic weather and amazing beaches less than an hour away. On top of that, Orlando is a growing tech hub.
Tell us about a typical day at work.
We work in a dynamic environment where we’re doing one thing one day and something completely different the next, which is really exciting. The Orlando and Swedish development teams work closely, so the day typically starts with a joint stand-up meeting. If we need to meet more, we do it in the morning when the Swedish office is online. The afternoon is mostly focused on cranking out code, but we do enjoy having a “Swedish Fika” where we can get away from our computer monitors for a little and catch up with co-workers over a cup of coffee.
What’s it like working with a team in Europe?
It’s great. We’re relatively new to the Exonaut software here in Orlando, whereas some of the people in Sweden have been working with it for 15+ years. Being able to tap into that expertise and knowhow is a major help. It’s also good to be able to hand off work at the end of the day and see that it has progressed when you start-up in the morning.
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What expectations are put on you?
I’m expected to deliver. We’re developing a really meaningful, cutting edge product that will make a difference for the military, so it has to be right, and it has to be ready on time. But 4C is a fairly flat organization, so I’m not given tasks and then micro-managed. It’s up to me to solve challenges creatively and share feedback with the team so we can develop the features our customers want. I’m also given the time, support and opportunity to learn and develop. The 4C knowledge platforms, for instance, are a great way to learn quickly from other people’s experiences.
Tell us a bit about the Exonaut® platform
When I first heard what it was capable of I was blown away by the amount of challenges Exonaut can overcome. The military uses it to manage and improve training, and government and corporations use it to manage crises, incidents and risks. There are also some really exciting applications for firefighters and the police. Having one core platform that can cater to so many clients – that in itself is remarkable. And, when we demo our abilities to some of the companies we work with you can see they are impressed with what we bring to the table – that feels great as a developer.
What does the future hold for you at 4C?
Immediately, we’ve just started coming back to the office in shifts, so it’s going to be good to meet colleagues in person again. As we move closer to the software delivery phase, I’m looking forward to working on the front-end and developing user interfaces. Long-term, I’m excited about being part of the massive growth of the company as the Orlando office becomes a very important part of the 4C story. There’s a lot of opportunity.
What would you say to somebody looking for a new challenge in military software development?
Here at 4C we work with some pretty cool stuff – a meaningful product that delivers next level military training through next level technology. We’re a small, agile team with the support of a bigger organization behind us and all the benefits that come with that. So, if you like to be challenged, want responsibility and opportunity, come work together with us, you won’t regret it.
Finally, we know what you’re doing while at work, what about when you’re off the clock?
In my down time I like to relax. We’ve got some nice weather, so I like to be outdoors playing disc golf, flying drones, stuff like that. I’m a big soccer fan and go to every Orlando City game. I also like to build things, which came in handy during the lockdown – I spent a lot of time putting down fast laps in a racing simulator that I built last year.
4C Strategies provides military clients with a broad range of tailored solutions designed to manage complex exercises, enable capability development, and enhance readiness across the organisation. Book a meeting with one of our expert consultants to discuss your requirements.