June 9, 2020
Everything we do at GK we do as a team, and part of working on a team is building one another’s morale. I talked recently with Senior Software Engineer Cody Knauer about engineering, risk-taking, and not taking things too seriously.
Hey Cody, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. What’s something you like to do outside of work?
I’m quite good at picking up pop songs by ear and playing them on guitar. Unfortunately, I’m very bad at remembering lyrics but have a knack for making up rhyming, largely nonsensical lyrics on the fly.
We’ve noticed that you have a remarkable record in GK’s employee contests. You’ve been on the winning team for our last two hackathons, you won the poker competition and came a close runner-up in our team trivia contest recently. What’s your secret?
Dumb luck? Definitely in the case of the poker game. I think I’ve earned a few hackathon bonus points on the presentation section because the judges think my stupid jokes are funny. I’ve been called a ‘natural showman’ and a ‘ham’, the latter of which is probably more accurate.
Getting back to your work with GK, what do you consider to be the most important aspect of your role?
The ‘people stuff’. Collaborating. Mentorship. Connecting the day-to-day to the broader goals of professional growth and the company’s success. Being a cultural binder.
What do you most enjoy working on at GK?
Do the hackathons count? Because those! As far as the day-to-day, I
like getting involved early in exploratory dev work. Poking at new
APIs, spiking on UI improvements, identifying risks and the potential for ‘wow’ features. It’s the thrill of exploration.
I understand software development was not your first career. How do you think programming has changed your approach to other aspects of your life?
Learning software development for me was an exercise in learning how to learn. Tech is constantly evolving, and the depth of what you don’t know will always exceed what you’ve mastered, so you always have to be willing to admit what you don’t understand and embrace the struggle of learning new things. I try to apply that ‘lifelong learner’ mentality more generally in life.
Do you have a favorite mantra or quote?
“Receive with simplicity everything that happens to you.”
Who do you most admire at GK and why?
I’m surrounded by brilliant, tenacious people. One quality I particularly admire is a complete lack of fear of the unknown. I see this from everyone on the engineering team from Tom, our CTO, to Michael, our most junior engineer. No one is threatened by a challenge; people embrace opportunities to do new things with bleeding-edge tech despite any struggle or uncertainty encountered along the way.