This week for Pivotal Voices, we’re featuring Ichizo Umehara, Developer at Pivotal Tokyo.
I didn’t start out in tech, I have a degree in economics, got an MBA and worked in consulting for a while, which is a very different background. The closest I came to programming was the odd Excel macro. As I was working in consulting, I started reading books like the Lean Startup by Eric Ries and ReWork by the 37 Signals team, and became immersed in startups and programming.
As I started reading up about technology I realized it was something I might want to do with my life and I started looking into the possibility of starting my own startup or at least going in that general direction. I was in New York at the time, and between the tech meetups and the huge amount of open sourced software and free resources online, I learned just enough programming to develop a couple product ideas I had.
I then started working for startups and gaining experience. A couple years ago I had the opportunity to come to Japan for family reasons and found this position in the Tokyo office. It’s been a great experience since. I love being able to work with a balanced team and have an incredible peer programming dynamic in which I’m able to learn from my colleagues every day.
One thing that’s been really great has been being able to work at Pivotal is the how closely developers work with product managers and designers. We get to understand what the personas are, what kind of people the designers and managers are talking to, and why we’re implementing certain features. From a development perspective it’s been refreshing and motivating because we know that every feature that we implement is something that will actually be used by the end user.
It’s exciting to be here in Tokyo right now because the agile process seems to be less common in Japan in general that in the US. So in many ways there is maybe a little more pushback against this XP development method, but at the same time there’s so much opportunity. I’m excited to be here and look forward to a lot of exciting upcoming projects.
— Ichizo Umehara, Developer, Pivotal Tokyo
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