STEM+Arts Career Profile – James Randolph

James Randolph

Senior Systems Software Engineer at

Tableau Software

1.     Tell us about your role at Intel and what does it entail?

I am a Senior Systems Software Engineer on Tableau’s Release Engineering team.  Tableau has over a thousand developers writing code to make our software fast, easy, and beautiful.  My team is responsible for making sure the code has a smooth flow from the developer’s desktop to the customer.

We create processes and automation to make that possible.

2.     What’s your background and how did it lead you to what you’re currently doing?

I was working for a small gaming company called Nerjyzed.  Our team needed a good way share code, compile it, and install it on systems to be tested regularly.  I was one of the few people who had previous experience with systems administration.  So I set up servers to version and build code for our game.

I did not know it but maintaining these systems and getting them to work together was part of “Release Engineering”.  Writing the features for the game was great, but this tiny piece few people wanted to work on gave me a career path I still enjoy today.

3.     What advice would you give our teens about, getting into your industry?

Always learn and try as much as you can now.  Every new thing you try will help you learn more about what you enjoy.  Finding your passion and enjoying what you do is the true meaning of success.  One of the reasons I volunteer with iUrbanteen is to help others find things they might enjoy.

4.     What is the most fun thing about your job?

It’s amazing to be part of something that other people use and find delight in.  There is always new technology that keeps my work interesting and new things to learn.  I sometimes have moments when I am looking at articles about new technology on the internet and find myself thinking, “I should get back to work.”  Then I realize, “…this IS my job.”

5.     Did you have someone in your life growing up that provided you the support and inspiration?

My mother provided unyielding support and a guiding hand.  She was encouraging of even some of my most outlandish dreams; the ones that weren’t dangerous anyway.  Her guiding mantra has always been, “Make good decisions.”  And I was allowed to fail just enough to know what those were.

6.     Can you share something about yourself that isn’t well known?

For over a decade I have been keeping colorful frogs mostly from South and Central America in the family Dendrobatidae (Dendrobates, Ranitomeya, Oophaga) in glass boxes (vivariums).  It’s similar to keeping marine aquariums without the complications of hundreds of gallons of water.

7.     Is there anything else you would like to add?

Good luck finding your passion!