Today we bring the spotlight to Ben Rubinger. Ben is one of our 'behind the scene' guys in Rational Client Support as a tools developer. Having been a support engineer himself, he has special insight into changes and features to internal tools which are needed on the front lines of support, and is busy making life for the TSEs easier one feature set at a time. But life isn't all coding for Ben, he's also active outside of work as you'll find below.
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
I'm Ben Rubinger, and my role in RCS is to find ways to help make TSE's work lives easier through building efficiencies (like EPS Sender, DCF Kickstart, etc.)
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
I've been with IBM 6 years, and in this job role 2 years.
Have you had any other roles in Rational?
I was a TSE supporting PurifyPlus for 4 years
What project are you the most proud of?
Probably EPS Sender. It's my first really impactful software development project, and it makes me feel really good when I walk around and see it on someone's screen. Plus, when it first came up, someone came up to me and thanked me for helping to ease his carpel tunnel syndrome!
Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?
I've always been really impressed with how Chris Flynn knows and connects with EVERYONE. I'm a firm believer that personal skills are just as important as technical skills.
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
I'm really not a gadget person. I'm pretty outdoorsey, and so if I'm not in the office or at home, I probably don't need to be staring at yet another screen. I think that not saturating myself in technology is a big reason why I continue to love working with it.
What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
There is a new 128GB blu ray disc coming out. That's a lot of storage on a disc!
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support?
The people. I love how much interaction I get with people who use software I build. Good people make a job really fun. Plus, it's always great talking with people from all over SWG (Software Group) and talking to them about what they do.
What inspires you in your work?
I love solving problems. I never know what challenges I'll deal with on a day-to-day basis which constantly makes my job interesting and varied. That variety keeps me inspired and motivated.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
In my spare time (when I have some), I love to be active and outdoors. I feel like it's important to balance out the time you spend at your desk. I love volleyball (I played both sand and indoor while I was living in California), swimming (the pool at UCSB was beautiful!), running (I ran cross country all four years while I was doing my undergraduate work at Clark University), yoga, weight lifting, and biking. Beyond that, I love listening to music, and I'm starting to do more cooking.
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in this field?
Communication is really important. You have to be able to listen to what people want and need or they'll be stuck with something they won't use. Of course, technical skills are core to my job since I'm working deep in code every day. At the end of the day, I need to be able to take ideas and turn them into reality via code.
How do you define success?
Feeling happy with who you are, what you're doing and where you're going in life.
Describe a normal day for you.
Well, that changed dramatically. If you asked me that two months ago, I'd describe my life as a full time student living in Santa Barbara, California. Now, my days are really varied. For a good chunk of my day, my emails lead me. I never know who has a question about a tool I wrote or needs my help with some new feature request. For the other part of my day, I work through a list of features I'm in the process of implementing in various tools, or work building new ones. I also spend a chunk of my time interfacing with my stakeholders (often TSEs in Rational, AIM, IM, or Tivoli).
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
In grad school, I had to read super dense technical papers, so I haven't done a lot of leisure reading recently. The last book I read for pleasure was probably Ken Follett's "A Dangerous Fortune."
What are you doing to make the planet smarter?
I'm giving IBMers their time back. By ensuring that computers do as much work as possible for people, we remove burden from people's shoulders so they can use their time better and ultimately be more effective in work and life.
How do you grow your technical skills?
I'm always reading. I read lots of technical journals and technical blogs. I also play with lots of code, and I'm often disassembling things.
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions?
Any other fun tidbits of information about you, your job, or RCS that you'd like to share?
When I was working in Lexington, I would bike 13 miles a day each way to get to work in the summertime. I'm going to see if I can bike once a week to work in Littleton from Cambridge! Wish me luck...