Ep. 5 Design Thinking and Your Career, with Drew Farris


Drew Farris is a senior technologist and software developer at Booz Allen Hamilton where he helps his clients solve problems related to large scale analytics, distributed computing and machine learning. He is a contributing author to Manning Publications’ “Taming Text” and the Booz Allen Hamilton “Field Guide to Data Science”. He has implemented a wide variety of text exploration, management and retrieval applications combining natural language processing, classification and visualization techniques. He is a member of the Apache Software Foundation, mentors and contributes a number of open source software projects and holds a master’s degree in Information Resource Management from Syracuse University’s iSchool.

Episode Summary

Drew Farris, currently a senior technology consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, wears dual hats as a software engineer and as a data scientist. He is also co-author of the book “Taming Text”. Drew is a master at taking complex topics and breaking them down into easier components. In this episode of Develomentor we also go in depth about intentionally designing your career using design thinking.

The traditional career path for programmers usually involves moving into management. But this transition doesn’t work for everyone. Drew purposely designed his role to remain technical, or ‘nitty gritty’. This means he blocks off significant time to write code even when having to interface with clients.

Drew attributes a lot of the success and enjoyment of his career to design thinking. a concept he got introduced to while studying art in college.

In this episode you will also hear:

  1. How public speaking helps grow a business
  2. Why getting published will help you grow professionally
  3. Why consulting is a great first job

Drew Farris used design thinking to create his ideal position

Key Milestones

Key Quotes

“A company cannot run on a handful of experts…It’s really a matter of growing expertise throughout a firm.”

“The only way you can get better at public speaking is through practice.”

“Everybody has unique talents and strengths. It’s really important to embrace that diversity and reward people for their strengths.”



Other Resources

Book on design thinking: Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Drew and Grant’s book: Taming Text: How to Find, Organize, and Manipulate It