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Mar 31, 2021 12:32:29 PM

Andrew Carnahan joins Columbia Road

Hannah Nordenström

Marketing Lead, Sweden

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Andrew-2Hi Andrew, How did you get good at what you do?

You could say that I came into a career in software development through a side door, and I think that’s made me better at what I do. I began my career as a biologist at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where I soon ended up managing projects that were really IT projects. I quickly saw the impact that good planning and development can have, not just on things like costs and schedules, but on helping people understand information and make better decisions.

I realised that this was what I really wanted to do, so I’ve been building software ever since, first as an intrapreneur, then as an entrepreneur, a consultant, and as a teacher for new software developers and business students.

Where have you earned your spurs?

At the EPA, I learned a lot about getting things done in a large organisation. Even with so many staff it’s still very possible to get things done and create a culture of continuous improvement. 

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to start several projects from scratch, which taught me a different set of skills. All the work you do behind the scenes as a developer really only matters when it matters to users, so you have to learn to make choices based on that instead of your own preferences.

My biggest successes have been when I worked on things that clearly “moved the needle” for existing ecommerce businesses, and when I identified a product that fulfilled a very specific need for a very specific set of users. This seems obvious, but obvious doesn’t always mean easy.

I also learned a lot from teaching others. Understanding code and writing algorithms are prerequisites for a good developer, but being able to work with a team and follow the right process are just as important.

Why Columbia Road?

There were a lot of things about Columbia Road that resonated with me. I’ve spent a lot of time running a business myself, so I thrive on being able to make a measurable business impact, being able to communicate with clients, and being empowered to make decisions that can provide even more value than what was originally planned. I also really wanted to be surrounded by people I could learn from and who would help me grow professionally. Columbia Road sounded like the perfect place for me.

After beginning to work with my colleagues here, I can say that Columbia Road practices what it preaches. I’m surrounded by colleagues who are great at their jobs, care about results for our customers, help each other out, and are always trying to grow and improve.

Lauri, what will make our clients love Andrew?

“Andrew is somebody who genuinely cares about understanding customers’ problems and solving them, and he is someone who can lift stress off of the people he works with. He is good at distilling problems down to the most important points and explaining subjects to people who don’t have the time or expertise to understand all the details. His broad experience not only in software development, but also in business, consulting, and marketing make him a valuable member od any team at our clients,” says Lauri Eurén, General Manager at Columbia Road.

What makes your heart beat a little faster?

I love teaching, and I’ve done that in different ways outside my work for my whole adult life. I’ve taught martial arts, been a personal trainer, taught online marketing and ecommerce to university students, and taught programming to adults changing careers. Now I try to teach my curious 7-year-old son everything I can.

I also love writing and have several partially finished manuscripts for books, including a memoir about my time in the military, a book about my experiences as an entrepreneur, and a science fiction/psychological thriller about the boundaries between artificial intelligence and consciousness.

How would you fancy working alongside Andrew at Columbia Road? We're constantly looking for new skilful and nice people to join our crew! Take a peek at our open positions 👇

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