Mike joined Railinc as a customer success specialist in 2004 and, after two years, moved into a software developer role. Today, he serves as a product development manager, guiding a team of software engineers as they work on equipment registration and safety-related products for the freight rail industry.
Learning to See from the Customer's Perspective
Working in CSC gave me a strong knowledge of all our products and our technologies. It also helped me learn to communicate effectively with customers and understand the issues they're facing. When you're trying to fix their problems, you learn what is important to customers and the impact our work has on their business. It can be easy to forget there's an end user when you're in the weeds, doing development work, and you don't know what exactly their pain points are. Interacting with customers gave me visibility into the challenges they face every day and how we can help solve them.
"It can be easy to forget there's an end user when you're in the weeds, doing development work. Interacting with customers gave me visibility into the challenges they face every day and how we can help solve them."
Moving into IT
I have a degree in management information systems, so I had a technical background when I joined CSC. But we're a data-driven company, and I always looked at my position as a technical position anyway. Once I decided what I wanted to do, I worked with my manager to create a plan and see how I could get more relevant experience. One of the great things about working at Railinc is you have access to resources and training to advance in the company. I was able to move into a software developer position on a team that handled maintenance on dozens of applications. It was an easy transition for me because I was already used to dealing with multiple applications on the CSC team. It helped, too, that people here are always willing to share their knowledge of the industry and technology.
Understanding and Communicating Priorities
I think I have such a good relationship with the business team I work with because of my experience in CSC. I know the challenges they face as they work to solve customer problems, and I know that our priorities change depending on the customer's needs. That helps me communicate with the business team as we work toward a solution. It also helps me communicate the business team's message to my development team so they understand why our priorities are shifting and why it's important to address the issue quickly.
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