What led you to software engineering?
My first interactions with code were in high school. There, I was taught the basics of computer science and got to play with C++ and C#. I went on to study mathematics and, later on, behavioral sciences. Nevertheless, coding and computer science never left my side. To me, coding has always represented an abstract tool to explore any field of my choice.
What is your favorite thing about being a software engineer?
My favorite thing by far is the level of abstraction that allows for problem-solving. Any given problem you are given, if you can abstract it correctly, you will be able to play with it and address it in a thousand different ways. It is also important to mention that such experimentation happens much faster than with real-world physical scenarios.
What is one thing that would surprise people about your field of work in data?
Specific to CIBO, I believe that the way people think of agriculture, in general, is outdated. Technology has changed every field I can think of. Some more, some less, but agriculture is nowhere near what it used to be 50 years ago.
What kinds of things do you think we should be doing to encourage more people to pursue a career in science?
It has become a cliche to boast of incompetence in mathematics. You do not have to look far to find a person who claims they “suck” at math with a smile on their face. The challenge is not only changing the individual but the society around the person as well. For example, the scientific community knows mathematics’s reach and capabilities, but the general population does not understand them well. Perhaps efforts need to be focused on making kids question their surroundings and demand explanations even further than they do. Maybe that way, their love for science could grow.
What brought you to CIBO?
Two things drew me to CIBO – the team and my areas of expertise. First, the CIBO team is brilliant, and I feel honored to be part of it. Second, my professional and academic formation has been mostly in mathematics and computer science. Nevertheless, I need to explain a funky vocational test I took in high school to understand my interest fully. On the one hand, since I was young, it was clear that I wanted to study mathematics. On the other hand, my intrigue and experimentation with plants has been present since I have memory. As a result, the suggestions of my vocational tests were: mathematician, civil engineer, physicist, OR farmer, ranger, an agricultural engineer. CIBO brings an exciting combination of both my expertise and my interests.
What are your primary responsibilities at CIBO?
I am a software engineer working with the modeling and science team.
What do you find the most rewarding about your work here?
The opportunity to address perhaps the biggest challenge of my generation, climate change.
Bernardo Villabla Cahue is a software engineer at CIBO Technologies, a science-driven software startup. Prior to CIBO, he worked as a software engineer for CarVal Investors, Virgin Pulse, and Deutsche Bank. He holds a degree in Mathematics with a focus on Computer Applications from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities along with a Master’s Degree in Cognitive and Decision Making Science from UCL.