Don’t get Pigeon-Holed: What a Super-Varied Career Has Taught Me About Working in the Software Industry
Peter Commons, VP Engineering, Zendesk
Red Talks - https://www.cs.wisc.edu/cdis-red-talks/
The software industry is wide and varied indeed — but we often get pigeon-holed into what we do, what type of company we work for, or where we work from. Some pigeon-holing we do to ourselves; some comes from others. Our first job out of school, which might have been chosen because it was the first offer we got, can dictate the sub-field we stay in or the type of role we have or the company we work for — for years. As someone who’s had the opportunity to work for a wide variety of company types in a number of different roles, Peter will share some of his experiences and help provide you with questions you might not have asked yourself — to figure out what might be the best company & role for you.
Peter Commons is VP Engineering at Zendesk where he is the Madison, WI site leader focused on a wide range of technical & leadership areas within the company.
In his career, Peter has driven design and development of customer-impacting and revenue-driving software from startups to multi-billion-dollar companies. He spent the first half of his career as a software engineer in a variety of roles. More recently, Peter has led diverse, worldwide, product, engineering, and data teams from back end to front end for internal and external customers in CTO, CPO, and VP level roles at Amazon, Groupon, and Zendesk. During his 13 years at Amazon, Peter helped drive a number of key initiatives including building and launching multilingual support for Amazon Consumer websites worldwide.
After growing up on the West Coast, Peter moved to the Midwest in early 2018 (first Chicago and now Madison), having realized how amazing a part of the country this is to live, work & play.