Name: Hunter Novak
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Favorite device: Yardage Finder
Favorite sports team: SF Giants
Favorite app: Tie Knots
We’re kicking off a new series of interviews with Hightail employees. First off, I head to Barefoot Coffee with Hightail Senior Software Engineer, Hunter Novak to discuss career changes, golf and what gets him up in the morning.
Katie O’Leary: How did you get into engineering?
Hunter Novak: I was actually studying music in Nashville, but after an internship at Apple, I discovered a love for engineering that I didn’t know existed. So I left Tennessee to study engineering at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. After graduation, I lived and worked in NYC and San Diego before coming back to the Bay Area, where I grew up.
KO: Where were you before Hightail?
HN: Before Hightail, I worked for a few small startup companies. Most notably I was at a company called Emn8 (based in San Diego) that developed self-service kiosks and online-ordering solutions. While I was there, I lead the web and web-mobile development efforts for online ordering at Burger King and The Counter. Actually, a few weeks ago I had one moment where I was driving to dinner and pulled up next to a delivery car for Burger King – bkdelivers.com. I was pretty stoked to see it, remembering all of the 15-hour days I put in to get the project out the door.
KO: What gets you up in the morning?
HN: When I have a project that has a clear scope and is solving a real problem. Clear scope to me is having tangible goals I can accomplish daily. Knowing that the work I am doing is adding value and making a difference is what gets me passionate and ready to g.s.d.
KO: I can’t live without my_______.
HN: Golf clubs. Golf is my biggest hobby. If I could teleport anywhere in the world for a day it would be to Augusta National; I have never been and would love to play there (that is if they let me on the course ☺). Recently, me and three other co-workers won a golf tournament. We got a giant trophy that I like to keep at my desk.
KO: What made you decide Hightail was the right place for you?
HN: Right away it was the interview process and the people I met through it. I did not know too much about Hightail, but like many people I had used it a couple of times before. Off the bat with my first interview, I got a down-to-earth vibe. Engineering interviews can sometimes be very intimidating, with questions that seem to live outside the realm of the actual position you are interviewing for. At Hightail, the people were real. The questions were relevant to the position and gave me a good idea of what I would be doing and who I would be working with. I knew I would love it here, and the company felt like a good fit for me.
KO: Who inspires you?
HN: Might be surprising to some, but I would have to say my father-in-law. Not only is he an amazing golfer, but he’s also been extremely successful in business and in his personal life. He is humble, unassuming, and has an amazing temperament. I would say that he inspires me to put my all into everything I do and not be afraid to rock the boat, but he’s also taught me the value of taking life as it comes and not sweating the small stuff.
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