Cutting: My grandfather was a professor at the University of Hawaii. We would visit every year, and I fell in love with skin diving. So I would tell anybody that asked that I wanted to be an oceanographer. I loved the fact that other kids would say fireman or something like that, and I had “oceanography” which sounded very mysterious to me. I wanted to be a scientist of some sort, that was my ambition overall.
ITworld: So you fulfilled that in a way.
Cutting: I don't think of myself as a scientist, I think of myself as an engineer. What I enjoy doing is building things that people use.
ITworld: If a thirteen year old kid came up to you and asked, “Hey Mr. Cutting what's the one thing that I have to do to become a really good software developer?” how would you answer?
Cutting: I'd say two things (laughs). Having some good academic background in data science and software is really valuable. Some people try to come to software without that, and you gotta pick it up. You gotta read a book, you gotta learn that stuff.
The other half is learning how to read and write good code by reading other people's code, and collaborating with people to build code. Open Source is really great for that. The social aspect of developing software is critical to developing good software. It's not a solo endeavor.
ITworld: This has been a great interview. Thanks!