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Why I'm Leaving Tech for Healthcare

I’m leaving tech. Not leaving technology, I just want to leave technology for technology’s sake. I’ve spent a lot of my career working for “tech” companies and helping to advance the state of tech, or DevOps, or Operations in the industry. I’m looking for an engineering leadership role in healthcare.


My first job out of college was as a research assistant/programmer for the National Institutes of Health in an Alzheimer’s disease research lab. Every day, no matter how bad it was, no matter whether my C code wouldn’t compile, or if the network was down, or how much trouble I had finding “normal controls”, I had done something to help people. We talk a lot in our industry about how we are “changing the world”, which is an admirable goal, if that’s indeed what we’re doing. Often however, it’s just changing the state of technology which may or may not have a positive effect on the world. I want to go back to doing something that has a tangible benefit every day, not a theoretical one.

Things I’ve Learned

I’ve spent a few months now just trying to get my own research done and in order. I’ve read a lot, I’ve talked to a lot of people at a lot of different companies. What I’ve learned in a short time breaks down into two categories.

  1. Established companies. These are companies that have been in the healthcare space for a while. As one person I talked to described it, there are large parts of some of these companies that are 10 years or more behind in technology. They may be running some K8s, but they are also just as likely to be running Cobol.

  2. Moonshot startups. These companies have the intention of changing something massive about the industry. Just like any startup, some have more traction than others but all see large opportunities in front of them. These tend to be smaller and have a lot less legacy artifacts to contend with.

Based on my background, I have a small bias towards the established players.

Why You Should Hire Me

I’ve made a career out of advancing the state of operations and software delivery at companies large and small. If every company is a software company, then at least I would hope those skills would be broadly applicable.

I’ve led DevOps transformations for companies as big as Salesforce and have worked on improving dysfunctional culture at small startups.

One of the CTOs I’ve worked with and I were talking about what I was doing at his company and why. My answer was that they were allowing me to build an engineering organization in a way that I would want to work as an engineer. An organization that values transparency, diversity, work/life balance, Agility, empowerment, and talent. I feel the results spoke for themselves. We were able to sign an engineer who had interest from 18 companies and had narrowed it down to 3. Out of the 3 he chose us because we had the culture described above that was exactly what he’d been looking for. Even months after he started, he still talked about how he’d made the right decision.

If that’s the kind of culture you’d want at your company. If you want to be able to attract top talent, and have an organization that reaps the benefits described in the 2018 State of DevOps Report, and you’re in the healthcare space, then we should definitely have a conversation.

I’ve talked to some companies that were worried they had too many challenges for an engineering leader like me to want to work there. That is neither an exclusion nor acceptance criteria for me. I’m looking forward to the discussions.

Thank you.