Alumni Spotlight: David Pierce, Cohort 2005
Tell us about yourself and your background.
I grew up in a multi-ethnic Navy family that lived in Central America, Europe, America’s Western and Southern coasts, and ultimately Nebraska--so, I’m not “from” anywhere but I really appreciated getting to experience how similar and how different people can be.
I graduated from the Raikes School in 2009 with a Management degree emphasizing in Information Systems. I also heard that major doesn’t exist anymore. Before coming to the Raikes School, I didn’t have much exposure to programming beyond playing with my dad’s Texas Instruments or trying to figure out how the games on my graphing calculator worked.
I moved to Seattle directly after graduating to start my career as a Program Manager at Microsoft. I transitioned shortly thereafter to software engineering at startups and small companies and have been doing that ever since.
What are some highlights or key take-aways from your experience as a student in the Raikes School/JDE?
Graduates of the program are likely to be so much better equipped to impact organizations where cross-disciplinary skills are valuable and where leading across functional boundaries is necessary. This tends to happen often at startups or in innovation groups within large organizations, and I think it’s the perfect environment for Raikes School graduates.
The program helped me become a great software engineer, but the most exciting parts of my career have been when I was working among the boundaries of different teams to build products and features.
What have you been up to since graduating from Nebraska and the Raikes School/JDE?
Mostly putting down roots in Seattle, starting a family, playing music, and cultivating a great life outside of work. I have spent time in the local startup and technology communities, and helped lead community efforts like Seattle Startup Weekend and Beer && Code.
You are currently working at Moz, tell us about your role and why you landed at Moz.
I’m currently serving as the Technical Lead at Moz working on the Moz Local product. My day to day usually involves programming and architecture design, but I spend a lot of time helping steer the direction of our product as well helping improve engineering excellence within the greater organization at Moz.
I chose Moz because it offered a chance to work on an emerging product within the stability of an established company, but I also really appreciate our company’s values and culture.
You’ve recently hung out with a few Raikes School alumni and current students. Tell us about those experiences and any others you’ve had.
I’m really encouraged by all the growth that has happened in Lincoln and in the midwest, and how much more exposure students are getting to entrepreneurship and ideals valuable to innovation and rapid iteration.
If you could give one piece of advice to current Raikes School students, what would you say?
You are the CEO, shareholder, and janitor of your own career, so figure out what you want to learn, who you want to help, and why. I encourage you to be ready to iterate, learn, and find out how each organization and job can fit into that story. I wrote a bit about thinking about your career as you choose organizations to work with; hopefully you find something useful there!
And for goodness’ sake, find something that isn’t work or technology to get passionate about too :)