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Love for building things proves ticket to rewarding career

  • Posted on June 14, 2021
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Love for building things proves ticket to rewarding career

Life at Avanade is an Avanade series of conversations about what it is like to work at Avanade. Today: a conversation with software engineer Luke Manca.

Luke Manca has loved building things ever since he was a kid. So it isn’t too surprising that today, as a software engineer with a degree in computer science, he is still building. Only now he is creating, architecting, developing and project managing with a team of fellow technology experts at Avanade.

Yet his career path wasn’t a straight line.                    

Luke started out as a business major at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. “I wanted to impact the way businesses operate and make decisions,” he says.

But even then, he found himself drawn to technology, as well. There really is no way to avoid it, especially for someone who enjoys designing and building things. In Seattle, technology just seems to be in the air.

“I switched over to computer science after realizing the disruptive nature of technology and how crucial it is for every industry,” Luke says. “Being a developer gives you the platform and skills to create change for whatever problem you want to tackle, and that is what excites me most. You can build a product front to back on your own or with a team. That ability was really enticing to me.

“Another factor: I worked at a go-kart track while I was in school and we got a ton of regulars from Microsoft, Amazon and all the big tech companies. Speaking with them, hearing what they enjoyed about their jobs, and learning that the way they were wired was very similar to how I am wired also pushed me toward computer science.”

So instead of working toward a business degree, Luke changed his major to computer science.

“And I absolutely loved it,” he says. “It was more of a challenge. There were kids in the program that had been coding since they were six years old, but I wanted a challenge, rather than just going to classes.”

With a computer science degree from a top school on the U.S. West Coast, Luke could have gone anywhere when he graduated in 2018. He chose Avanade.

One of two internships he completed during the course of his degree work was with Avanade. “My project was building a travel request app for one of our clients,” he says. “Basically, we got to gather the requirements, design the application, build it all the way through and demo it to the client. That whole process, being part of creating and designing, was what I wanted. I would rather be a jack of all trades than a master of one. With AVA, it was definitely a selling point that you can wear multiple hats within one project or try different roles among various projects.”

He joined Avanade’s software engineering talent community as an analyst shortly after he graduated. Today Luke is a technical program manager overseeing all Power Apps Platform development and support at a large Seattle-based Avanade client.  His current role is a combination of project management, client support and technical development that still allows him to take an active role in developing and architecting solutions, he says.

“My roles have definitely changed, but with every project and every role, I have been able to grow and stretch what I am responsible for,” he says.

Luke sees a number of strong benefits to building a technology career at Avanade.

“Developers at Avanade are included in all aspects of a solution,” he says. “They are not just handed tasks to deliver, but are included in the architecture, design and business conversations for their projects. It's an amazing place for those who love to build and contribute to a solution as a whole.

“In my time with Avanade, I've been able to work with many different clients, projects, technologies and even roles for those projects. If you consider yourself a Jack-of-all-trades, are interested in trying different roles, or are just restless and want to learn as much as you can, Avanade has always been supportive of that in me.”

Looking down the road, Luke says that someday he would like to be a product owner, developing and marketing a product of his own. “That would be ideal for me. Or there’s the option to lead technology services for a private equity firm, bringing in solutions to help build up acquisitions.”

If he could give one piece of advice to students just starting their technology educations, it would be to “find an internship in a space you're passionate about. It's a great way to help you figure out what you want to do once you graduate."

“I always recommend our internship program,” he says. “I help lead Avanade’s West Region internship program. It’s a great way to gain industry experience and learn about Avanade, the business of tech consulting and the soft skills they don’t teach you in school. We also have a good amount of fun with the amazing people involved with the program.”

Avanade is always looking for great people to add to our team. Visit Avanade’s career site to check out our current openings.

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