404 Found: National Engineers Week

In recognition of National Engineers Week, we’re highlighting the background of six Netsmart engineers! Whether working in our Overland Park, Springfield, Louisville, San Jose or Great River office, their invaluable work supports our overarching mission to equip providers with seamless, secure and intuitive technology.

Continue reading to hear how each associate found their passion for the field, what they enjoy most about being an engineer and how they continue to develop their skills at Netsmart.

We appreciate the work of all our engineers this and every other week of the year.

Danielle Ho, QA Engineer

Where did you receive your Bachelor of Engineering degree? University of Arkansas – Fayetteville.

What was your major? Computer engineering with a minor in computer science and mathematics.

What influenced your decision to go into engineering? My high school offered engineering classes that peaked my interest in hardware and software. They were my favorite classes, as they gave me the opportunity to build and create something new every day. I always had an interest in technology growing up. My family would often come to me when they had problems with their computers regardless of the fact that I am the youngest in the family.

What do you enjoy most about being an engineer? Collaborating with other engineers to see how they approach problems.

How long have you worked at Netsmart? 13 months.

How have you grown professionally as an engineer at Netsmart? Coming into Netsmart, I was fresh out of college and eager to learn more in a work environment. I’ve learned how to better balance my time between projects and what workflow works best for me to be the most productive and get things done.

What makes you excited to come into work every day? Knowing the impact and importance that my job brings makes me excited to come into work every day. I’m fortunate to work alongside a dedicated team that’s passionate about the work we do. Being able to meet new people on a regular basis also makes Netsmart an exciting place to work.

What does your perfect breakfast look like? Eggs Benedict and morning tea.

Luis Pereira, Software Engineer

Where did you receive your Bachelor of Engineering degree? Missouri University of Science & Technology.

What was your major? Computer science.

What influenced your decision to go into engineering? I grew up in a third world country and as a child I didn’t have much technology around me other than a black and white TV and a landline phone. When the PS1 was released in 2000, my dad surprised me with it for my birthday. This being my first HUGE tech device, I played games nonstop for a good month. After beating all levels, I got curious about what was inside the PS1. So yes, I took it apart (even the controller). It was so fascinating seeing the internal hardware, but at the same time so puzzling not understanding how the “stuff” was connected in such a small box. After my venture dissembling the PS1, I couldn’t remember the order in which I took each piece apart, and I couldn’t it make it work anymore. My curiosity and passion for technology grew from that day.

What do you enjoy most about being an engineer? Being able to tackle any kind of problem and teach others about it.

How long have you worked at Netsmart? Since I graduated college two and a half years ago.

How have you grown professionally as an engineer at Netsmart? One of my passions is helping others fulfill their potential, and Netsmart has let me do that in many ways. I have developed new skills by helping manage our internship program, recruiting during college career fairs and interviewing potential candidates.

What makes you excited to come into work every day? The thought of having a different challenge every day and knowing I have an awesome team that goes above and beyond when I need help.

If you could instantly become an expert at something, what would it be? Physics.

Sherry Turner, Senior Software Engineer

Where did you receive your Bachelor of Engineering degree? Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), although it was named UMR (University of Missouri-Rolla) when I attended.

What was your major? Computer science with a minor in writing.

What influenced your decision to go into engineering? I always enjoyed my science classes but loved English literature and writing. I was seriously considering becoming a high school English teacher. Then my senior year of high school, I took a class in BASIC programming (using a time-shared teletype terminal). I was intrigued and immediately began applying to engineering universities.

What do you enjoy most about being an engineer? I love the problem solving. I love that I am constantly called on, daily, to expand my knowledge and learn new things.

How long have you worked at Netsmart? 24 years. Although the company has been known by many names (MSI, HBOC, McKesson, Change), I have worked for the same group for 24 years, and until recently, in the same location. Netsmart acquired my division of Change Healthcare in the summer of 2018. So, I’ve worked here for either 1.5 years or 24 years, depending on how you look at it.

How have you grown professionally as an engineer at Netsmart? I learn best by doing, and I have worked on a variety of assignments that provide me an opportunity to learn new skills. Most recently, I had a temporary assignment with CarePathways KPI Dashboards, which combined my pre-existing knowledge of the Homecare Advisor database with the need to learn about business intelligence concepts and a new platform.

What makes you excited to come into work every day? Coffee. 😊 Also, the great people I work with and the opportunity to work in a field, home health, that makes a positive difference in the world. My mom is a retired home health nurse.

If you could instantly become an expert at something, what would it be? Sailing—I’ve only been on a sailboat a couple of times as a passenger, so it would be a big stretch, but I love being on the water. I think I would really love being able to control the boat myself.

Zachary Kouba, Dev Ops Engineer

Where did you receive your Bachelor of Engineering degree? I did not receive a Bachelor of Engineering degree. I went to college at San Jose State University where I received a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I later went on to attend the San Jose Coding Dojo where I took courses on Python, Javascript, and Swift/IOS languages.

What was your major? My major for my BA in Business Administration was entrepreneurship.

What influenced your decision to go into engineering? In college I never considered engineering as my career path. However, early on in my career, I found myself gravitating toward engineering. As a client success associate at Netsmart, I would constantly bug engineers with questions from clients and other NTST associates that I didn’t have the answers to. As my knowledge of engineering grew, I realized I had a passion for the type of problem solving that comes with software engineering. I spent three years at NTST moving to teams with more engineering type work, then eventually I left NTST to attend a software engineering bootcamp and then I came back to Netsmart.

What do you enjoy most about being an engineer?

What I enjoy most about being an engineer is problem solving. I could spend an entire day or week trying to solve a complex problem, and when I finally solve it, I get to pass my solution to the people who need it. It can be frustrating work, constantly failing at finding the right answer. Once you find the solution, the sense of gratification out ways the struggles getting to the solution.

How long have you worked at Netsmart?  Three years.

How have you grown professionally as an engineer at Netsmart? I have been extremely fortunate that my team is constantly innovating and using new technologies in our everyday work. It has allowed me to not only learn new technical skills and challenge myself to be better, but also given me opportunities to teach others the skills and technologies I have learned.

What makes you excited to come into work every day? No day is like the last on my team. There is either some new technology or project we are going to take a stab at, or there’s something unexpected that comes our way that we need to solve. It’s knowing something new is coming my way each day that keeps me excited to come to work.

If you could instantly become an expert at something, what would it be? If I could become an expert at something it would be distilling and bourbon making. The fact that a lot of the knowledge around distilling and aging bourbon is passed down through generation is admirable to me. It’s exciting to think that 10, 15, 20 years ago, sometimes even longer than that, someone was putting their heart, soul and most importantly patience into making a fine spirit. I love making things and more importantly sharing it with others, so my dream is to one day have my own bourbon to share with the world.

Zachary Vampola, Senior Software Engineer

Where did you receiver your Bachelor of Engineering degree? Hofstra University, NY.

What was your Major? Computer science.

What influenced your decision to go into engineering? My fourth grade teacher made me and two of my friends the “IT” department of our elementary school–we ran around campus fixing computers and running cables in our free time. Ever since then I’ve spent a majority of time with computers/technology.

What do you enjoy the most about being an engineer? By far the problem solving. Some things will only take a few minutes to figure out, but sometimes issues get extremely complex in very little time.

How long have you worked at Netsmart? Almost three years; I started in June 2017.

How have you grown professionally as an engineer at Netsmart? Every six months I’d find myself saying/thinking “I’ve learned more in the past six months than I did in the five years prior to that,” and even now that’s still true. There are always new projects, new challenges and ultimately more learning. Programming is an ever-changing industry, so there’s always new things to be discovered. I’ve learned new languages, started using new frameworks, and even learned more about computers than I ever thought I would simply because of the opportunities we’ve had to work through.

What makes you excited to come into work every day? The personal/professional learning and growing opportunities. While some days are just same-thing-different-day, most days aren’t. There are always new practices, languages, frameworks, features…. (the list goes on) to learn, many of which are fascinating to me.

What does your perfect breakfast look like? Two eggs fried with American cheese and bacon on a toasted onion bagel.

Tina Thomas, Software Engineer

Where did you receive your bachelor of engineering degree? University of Louisville Speed Scientific School.

What was your major? Information science and data processing with a minor in mathematics.

What influenced your decision to go into engineering? My parents. My mom learned to program a circuit on her own. My daddy taught himself how to use a computer and enjoyed traveling to many destinations he would never have had the opportunity to otherwise. My love for problem solving began around the age of 8 when I discovered Penny Press puzzle books. I was blessed to get accepted into a Magnet High School that taught computer science, so the problem solving was just easy when the programming bug hit me at the age of 14. I was accepted in the Speed Scientific School and continued learning on the next level of what I had already learned in high school.

What do you enjoy most about being an engineer? I like big data and I cannot lie. I have always enjoyed digging in and getting my hands dirty in the code to figure out and solve problems, tapping into the database to provide useful reporting, and twisting and molding to see different ways to help answer questions. My goal is to solve answers to questions that businesses aren’t even aware they need. UX has always been important to me. Users are our customers, and it is imperative they can focus less on the ease of a system and put more focus on patients. It is a personal quest for me that our users have quality time to put patients first. As I learned, you have to start somewhere; this was just the right starting point for me.

How long have you worked at Netsmart? 6 years as part of the Kindred team and officially a Netsmart associate for one year and one month.

How have you grown professionally as an engineer at Netsmart? I am making my way and always asking questions. I have made my connections and learned there is intense training, and each engineer goes through learning the system first (which I am currently jumping in with both feet to learn as much as I can). When Netsmart says we go fast, they mean it. I call it Ricky Bobby style. I love agile development, and this has been one fun ride.

What makes you excited to come into work every day? Learning. Problem solving and bouncing ideas off each other is just all-around FUN! I am blessed to work with a great group of very smart people. There is laughter in the mix; who doesn’t love to have fun while working? Relationships are important, and I am excited about all the outside Louisville associates I have met and worked with so far. Chemistry of open and honest conversations is how a good system becomes GREAT.

If you could instantly become an expert at something, what would it be? If I could instantly become and expert at something, I would choose to be a data scientist unicorn. I have much more time and effort that needs to put in to learn the skill sets I need to achieve this nearly impossible goal. But yes, this would be my ultimate quest. My childhood dream was to work at NASA, but God had a different plan for me. One that I hold near and dear to my heart as our system is a direct link to people when they are in their most vulnerable season of their lives. I truly believe this is the field where I was meant to find my purpose and make the biggest impact. All while having patience and showing kindness to everyone I can as I start each day with gratitude.

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