What led you to software engineering?
Growing up, my father worked as a mainframe operator, and I was always amazed by his ability to work with massive IBM towers. I want to credit this as one of my primary motivators for becoming a programmer/software engineer. Furthermore, I have always been a huge nerd-coding in my spare time is one of my favorite things, and I am always trying to read a textbook of some sort at any given time.
Regarding the shift to working on agriculture software, I was able to work under Dr. Danelle Larson at the USGS on some problems related to applying non-traditional data analysis techniques to ecological research. This was an incredible experience that later inspired me to join CIBO.
What is your favorite thing about being a scientist?
I’m not a scientist (in CIBO terminology, I don’t actively develop crop/climatology models); however, I’ve learned that I love surrounding myself with them! My role at CIBO involves implementing software based on the ideas and theories developed by our research staff. My favorite part of this is being able to work on some really “out there” problems while also trying to use engineering best practices.
What is one thing that would surprise people about your field of work in agriculture/data?
We have a well-developed technology stack comparable to many other SaaS companies. The maturity of our software tooling surprised me when I first joined CIBO, considering that we operate with a modestly-sized group of engineers!
What kinds of things do you think we should be doing to encourage more people to pursue a career in science?
Vocalize the impacts of an individual’s work in two contexts:
- From the professional/technical perspective : clever solutions, engineering choices, new models, etc.
- From the perspective of how their work affects the company/organization/world : For example : thanks to X feature, we improved model accuracy, which will affect Y number of credits issued in a given year. These credits incentivize (some number) of farmers to practice (insert sustainable practice)
What brought you to CIBO?
An awesome mission statement, cool problems to work on, and a staff that genuinely believes in the problems that their product is trying to solve.
What are your primary responsibilities at CIBO?
I’m a software engineer working on building tooling for scientists and other engineers at CIBO; my day-to-day is focused around coding and providing advice/assistance on software-related problems.
What do you find the most rewarding about your work here?
I feel incredibly lucky to work with a team of engineers who are constantly working towards the best possible solutions to a given problem. The enthusiasm for discussion and collaboration with our research staff is also incredible.
About Douglas Krouth
Douglas Krouth is a Software Engineer at CIBO, a science-driven software startup. Prior to CIBO, he worked at Schneider and HORNE. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.