We recently wrapped up our 360 reviews at Red Ventures. Part of this process involved assessing ourselves and deciding where we want to take our careers. The “Annual Development” questionaire started off asking me how I felt about my current job role as a software engineer on the digital marketing team (you can learn more about this role on my LinkedIn profile, https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulprae). Here is the option I chose, followed by my other responses:

“If the right opportunity is open now, I am ready for a move, but would also be satisfied remaining in my current role for the near-term future.”

If none of the statements above accurately describe your feelings, please describe your thoughts here:

I am happy on my current team but would prefer using machine learning techniques and technologies full-time. I especially enjoy analyzing social data using powerful data science tools, such as Apache Spark or Mahout, and robust languages like Java/Scala or C++/F#. Second to that, staying in my current role with a focus on new product development with modern technologies would be fantastic. Working to design and build full-stack web applications, with technologies like Node.js, Go, elasticsearch, RabbitMQ, AWS etc, would make me feel more fulfilled.

What opportunities or roles are you interested in exploring over the next 1-2 years?

The only potential teams that could compete with my current team would be the “Data Science” team or the “Business Intelligence” team. I would fit well as a software engineer on either team. No matter the team, any work in machine learning or data science makes complete sense for me based on my background and career interests. I focused on artificial intelligence during my undergraduate pursuits and I am currently pursuing a graduate degree in data science. In my current job role, I am strengthening the necessary skills to build web services and web applications. Within the next couple of years, I hope to be building out the infrastructure to support machine learning capabilities or creating services to provide machine learning capabilities.

If you could chart your ideal career path over the next 2-4 years, what would it look like?

I ultimately desire to write algorithms and web services for machine learning libraries that are catered to specific social data problems. Specifically, I hope to apply biologically-inspired machine learning techniques, such as evolutionary computation or neural networks, to social media marketing or human resource problems. I want to improve the brand experiences of customers and augment the cognitive abilities of employees. My career is designed to lead into cognitive computing. I want to build adaptive and predictive software systems that help people solve complex social problems.

I think about these topics all of the time. They were fun to write about and share with leadership. I’m excited to see where I can take my career!