Steven Gray

CEO

Steven Gray

Steven has over two decades of experi­ence in software engineering, architec­ture, management, education, and con­sulting. He has a real understanding of the software development cycle with practical experience in large-scale appli­cation architecture and design, enter­prise mobile and cloud development, application security and implementa­tion, testing, and deployment. Steven holds several technical certifications, authored multiple publications, and has presented at technical conferences and functions all over the United States.

Steven has served in the role of Software Architect, Director of Education, Director of Engineering, and CEO since starting at SoftSource in 2005. He has been hacking code for nearly 40 years starting about the time this profile photo was taken.

Education

Bachelor of Science, Computer Science
Pacific University
Forest Grove, Oregon

Graduate Certificate, Software Systems
Stanford University
Palo Alto, California

Six Questions with Steven

When did you first start programming and with what language/computer and what did you like the most about this programming experience?

I first started programming at the age of 5 when my grandfather brought home an early-model Apple ][ computer for me to experiment with during my summer break from school. That summer I taught myself Applesoft BASIC and rudimentary machine language programming mostly so I could write games or “hack” existing games to give myself more lives or extra bonuses (e.g., I was the only millionaire to cross the Oregon Trail yet money does not make you immune to typhoid). I spent several subsequent summers learning more and more about programming (e.g., in Logo) as Apple released new versions of the Apple computer line. Oddly, one of my favorite aspects of BASIC on an Apple was its use of line numbers for structuring statements—I miss line numbers. I also enjoyed being able to type in programs (mostly games) from magazines like “Compute!” and then hacking those so I could always win or so that my sister would always lose.

Describe a project you’ve been involved with which you consider to be your greatest success so far. What made it so successful?

An application I helped to architect and write for a client almost fifteen years ago was used by its employees for over a decade to record and track over a billion dollars of revenue. It’s longevity of production use far exceeds our initial expectations, probably by an order of magnitude.

On a personal success level, one of the earliest projects in my career was to write what was essentially a web browser (before they were called such things) to parse and render SGML-based technical manuals for the US Navy. Among the basics like text, table, image rendering and hyperlinks, there were features in that browser that are just now starting to find their way into modern-day browsers (e.g., HTML 5 web storage, web workers, advanced scripting, etc.).

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far in your career?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is to favor practical solutions first and optimize only if necessary. I’ve also learned that you can do anything with software, so whenever someone says, “It can’t be done,” I get excited for the opportunity to prove them wrong.

If computers and related technology didn’t exist, what do you think your career would be?

If computers didn’t exist, I’d probably be a furniture craftsman. I enjoy the geometry and related mathematics of constructing objects from wood. It’s too bad that wood comes from trees, though.

When it’s time to turn off the computer, what do you do instead?

When it’s time to turn off the computer I either spend time with my family, read a book on technology, go out for a run, or roast a fresh batch of coffee.

Anything else you think the world would like to know about you?

The world should know that these brief answers to this questionnaire don’t even come close to defining who I am and what I do, but it’s a start.

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