My Princeternship was hosted by Joe Ross ‘97, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of RedVision. RedVision provides “Real Property Research solutions”, including title searches. This information is needed whenever properties are sold. Banks need to know the details of any mortgage on the property, as well as other financial documents (home equity loans, car loans gone awry, etc.) that are tied to the property. These documents are stored in filing cabinets scattered in municipalities across the country, making the search process tedious and time-consuming. That’s where RedVision comes in. They have been working for years to make these documents available online in a searchable format.
I spent most of my day with Antony Karounis (Technical Director, Plant Data Technologies). He introduced me to everyone in the software engineering department before explaining the problem in the title search market that RedVision aims to solve. He also explained agile software development. On a basic level, agile consists of 2–4 week “sprints” where developers try to accomplish assigned tasks. These tasks are chosen in a pre-sprint meeting from a backlog of all tasks that the group plans to address eventually. The group reconvenes post-sprint to decide if the sprint was a success or a failure, and to identify areas for improvement.
Before lunch, I had the chance to observe one of the pre-sprint meetings. Much of it was over my head, as I had only a basic understanding of the company–not an in-depth understanding of their products, the bugs therein, and the acronyms they used on a daily basis. That being said, it was certainly worthwhile to see the approach Mr. Karounis used to coordinate the group. I’ve only worked on small projects with at most a couple of friends, so I’d never really thought about the procedures required to coordinate a larger group on a project that has been ongoing for years.
Mr. Karounis treated me to lunch at an Indian buffet with about 8 other employees (including most of the developers). I exchanged stories about Princeton with two of the employees who had graduated just last year. Our conversation continued upon returning to the office, where they told me about their roles in the company, why they’d chosen to work there, and how they had been very surprised to see each other when they both started work at RedVision on the same day. They also gave me some school-based advice, such as how they’d chosen their majors (both computer science) and which courses they recommended.
Next, I met with two employees who had been at RedVision for a few years. We talked mostly about what they liked and disliked about the programming industry in general. The group that had met in the morning then reassembled to reflect on the sprint that had just ended. This was similar to the morning session for me: it was very technical, but provided insight into the agile development process.
Finally, I met with Mr. Ross to discuss RedVision’s history and his career path. We also chatted about Princeton, and how much it had changed since his graduation. After snapping a few photos for the blog, Mr. Karounis gave me a ride to the bus stop, where I began the lengthy commute from Parsippany to Princeton, arriving just in time to catch dinner with two minutes to spare.