Meet Joe Stech who manage a data science team
Published 12. jun 2018 11:15
Who are you and what do you do for a living?
Hi! My name is Joe Stech, and I manage a data science team for a large tech company during the day. In the evenings (after my baby daughter goes to sleep) I write, program, and maintain a few long-running projects like compellingsciencefiction.com.
What's your morning routine like?
I generally wake up around 7:15am and check my email from bed. I then wash up and grab some quick breakfast (generally some form of oatmeal) and head out to work. I'm a huge fan of electric vehicles, and in the summer I often ride an electric bike the 6 miles or so to the office.
What's a typical day at work like for you?
I manage a small team, but I also do software development. I'd say about 60% of my time is spent in meetings and answering questions and the other 40% is technical work. The actual scheduling of meetings tends to be randomly interspersed throughout the day, so every day is different, but the general theme is:
training meetings (both giving and receiving)
responding to email and chat
Not necessarily in that order. Since my daughter was born I've been coming home to eat lunch 2-3 times a week. I'm good friends with my coworkers, and we'll often eat lunch together as well. I generally get in to the office around 8:30am and leave between 5 and 5:30pm.
When I get home I generally exercise in my basement gym, either squats/bench press/running/etc. depending on the day. After that I have dinner with my family -- we'll often watch something on Netflix and/or chat about the day. My wife and I love going on walks after dinner through a nice green belt near our house, I'm a huge proponent of walks!
After baby is asleep I'll work on some side projects or write for an hour or two, and then head to bed where I read for another hour or so.
What do you do when you're not working?
I spend time with my wife and daughter, and I read a lot. We also have a big vegetable garden and yard that has been occupying a lot of time lately, it's going to be really nice to hang out there this summer!
What does your office and desk look like?
Joe was not able to provide a image from his office, so here is a sample desk from Unsplash
At both work and home I have a motorized sit/stand desk, that I periodically raise and lower during the day. At work I have two monitors on arms and a couple plants, and not much else beyond some desk clutter.
What challenges do you often run into when you're working?
I'm very fortunate in the fact that I don't often run in to personality challenges -- all my coworkers are great. Most of the challenges involve balancing requirements when designing new software features, and making sure that other teams are informed and aligned with what we're doing. It can also be challenging to keep track of all the initiatives across our engineering org, but it's a good kind of challenge.
Do you have any good productivity tips?
My productivity generally depends on my ability to solve problems, so my advice may be not be generally applicable, but my only comment would be to keep trying different things. Even if you don't feel like you're getting anywhere, if you keep trying things you'll keep looking at the problem in different ways. Understanding almost always flows from the concrete to the abstract, so if you keep taking concrete actions the higher level abstraction that you need will eventually reveal itself (it may just take a while).
OK, I do have one other thing: I review my day periodically, and even when I'm not feeling super productive I try to get at least one small thing done that feels like progress. Little bits of work done consistently add up quickly over time. It's the consistency that's the key.
What tools do you use at work to be productive?
A pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones, since I work in an open office, and pycharm, vi, and all the wonderful Linux command line tools that great programmers have built over the years. Add a nice plaintext todo list and I'm ready to go.
How do you get inspiration to get up in the morning and kick ass?
At a high level, I just respect the hell out of people that get things done, so I try to do the same. More concretely, if I'm not inspired to get out there and pay my mortgage, I know the bank will be inspired to take my house. I'd like to get out of that relationship one day :)
Visit Joe Stech's personal site here: http://joeste.ch/