Meet the Team: Nathan Roberts, VP of Operations
From a developer to VP of Operations, Nathan Roberts has seen Softensity through a lot of change and growth over the past 20 years. After graduating from Berry College, Nathan started his career working in Microsoft-based technologies, but he eventually found himself looking for a different kind of role at Softensity.
In spite of the ups and downs, Nathan roots for the Falcons and the Braves and spends his free time watching the big game with family and friends. And, like many tech-lovers, he’s still a gamer at heart.
What does it mean to be Softensity’s VP of Operations?
I work very closely with Danny J. Fuleihan, Softensity’s President, to keep the company running as effectively as possible. I keep up with all the processes to make sure that our people have the support they need to do their jobs: I help support IT with both technology and compliance, as well as billing and payroll technology related needs.
How did you grow from a developer to a VP?
I’m about to show my age here, but I’ve been developing professionally since 1995 — so I’m kind of an old geezer. And I’ve been with Softensity since the beginning, over 20 years.
Being with a company for that long and developing for so long, I moved into operations because, quite frankly, I was a little burnt out from doing one thing for so long. And even though technology constantly changes, that’s kind of one of the things that burns you out, just the constant race to keep up. I haven’t totally abandoned development and still support some legacy clients and our internal custom built ERP system, but for the most part, I stick to operations.
Basically, I just talked to Danny and told him that I wanted to help more with general company operations, especially since I’d already been doing that unofficially. So it morphed into an official role as VP of operations.
You’ve been with Softensity longer than any other employee. How has the company grown and changed over the past 20 years?
Well, there are certainly many, many more of us than there used to be. We worked in consulting for a while and we even tried some of our own SaaS product software. Much like you do as a person, we as a company dabbled in a lot of different areas early on, trying to find what we really were good at and enjoyed doing. We eventually settled on what we’re doing now, which is building software teams for our clients from within our global teams.
How did you originally become interested in technology?
I grew up playing video games, and my dad really was a big influence. He worked in a technological field, so we had computers and stuff like that as kids.
Then, I took an intro to computing class at college, and felt like I really had a knack for it and enjoyed it. Alluding to my age again, tech was certainly a growing field back in the ‘90s with all of the dot coms that were springing when the internet was blossoming, and the rest is sort of history.
What is it like connecting with Softensity team members all over the globe?
It’s interesting, because every person and every country has their own customs and different ways about things. It’s interesting to hear different perspectives on things.
For instance, during the World Cup recently, we had so many different people from different countries pulling for their own home teams, that was kind of fun. Everybody just really gets into it and supports their home country and team.
How do you foster community and teamwork while working remotely?
I pre-date even the Softensity office in Marietta, so I’ve always worked remotely. So it’s usually a good amount of time in meetings and on Teams. Certainly, a lot of companies have expanded there due to the pandemic, so more meetings have moved online than ever before. I’m not much of a chat user simply because I usually try to be focused on what I’m doing, but I know that a lot of our team uses Slack and other chat programs to communicate and connect.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a career in IT?
I would say this about any job, but I would definitely say make sure it’s something you enjoy because you’re going to probably be doing it for a while. You know what they say, “If you enjoy what you do for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
And I would also say, giving a nod to Softensity, it’s also important to find people that you enjoy working with, because it’s not always just about the work. It’s about who you work with.