Break Boundaries in MSP

Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP) is the problem-solving capital of the new economy. Facing challenges and breaking boundaries is what we do best. That’s what makes us a magnet for problem-solvers like you. Join us and discover leading opportunities to grow your career.
Hometown: Euclid, MN

Kayla Altepeter

Senior Staff Engineer, Merrill Corporation

What problem(s) are you working to solve?
At Merrill Corporation, we just launched a new platform called DatasiteOne beginning with our clients in the due diligence markets. This replaced a 15 year-old product with modern technology, which we can build new products on. We changed everything from culture and leadership to processes and technologies.

We have several engineering challenges we solve every day: How can we make that process smoother? When people have new ideas, how can they build a proof of concept (POC) and get it in front of potential clients for feedback? A new major version of framework X is out, how do we migrate this architecture in good time? Should we adapt new technology X? How do we grow our people? The platform and culture shift really enables engineering to deliver.

What makes the Minneapolis and Saint Paul region (MSP) a great place to grow your career?
The people. MSP has great engineering and leadership talent. You can learn so much from your peers. When great talent leads companies, it feeds a cycle of opportunity and growth. We have a wonderful mix of big companies, small companies and startups. I have worked in many different settings, from agency work for web sites to enterprise application development. This means that engineers have choices on what kind of work they want to do and how they want to grow.

What do you think surprises people about MSP?
When vendors or contractors we work with don’t have many relationships with clients here, they often share how pleasantly surprised they are with the skill and experience of our team. They may have made assumptions about Minnesota and had no idea we are a growing tech market.

What advice do you have for women engineers starting in their careers?
The first thing I think of is a quote from Sergey Brin (Google): “The only way you are going to have success is to have lots of failures first”. My number one word of advice to any junior engineer is to learn from the engineers before us and embrace the idea that there will be failures. Don’t waste them, learn from them. If you are learning from a mistake, big or small, you are moving forward. I think this can help alleviate some of the fear of starting as a junior engineer. Don’t be afraid to jump in. Engineers solve problems, they don’t have all the answers. Experience will give you more answers, but the problems will always change, and you will always have to adapt. The best skill you can develop is problem solving and learning techniques to iterate faster.

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