Get to know the people of Cloud City. In this regular (and sometimes irregular) series, we sit down with our designers, engineers and other team members to talk about development, consulting and life in general.
Today, we’re chatting with Logan Jewett, a new addition to the Cloud City engineering team. Read on to learn how he almost became an astronaut and why he loves scuba diving in the Midwest.
Senior Software Engineer
Currently reading: Adrian Tchaikovsky, “Bear Head”
Currently bingeing: “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
Currently streaming: Jack Stauber
Tell us about your journey to becoming a software engineer.
When I was a kid, I wanted to work at NASA. I was torn between building rockets or becoming an astronaut. In college, I studied aerospace engineering at first. But I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go on to grad school. And I wasn’t too impressed with the options available to me with just an aerospace engineering undergrad.
So I shopped around for new majors and landed on math and computer science. I had taken a few classes in programming in high school and college and always enjoyed it.
Wait. An astronaut? For real?
Yeah! I started working on the certification process when I was in my 20s. I got my pilot’s license and scuba certification, both of which help set you apart at NASA. But with an undergrad, all you could really do was work on planes. That sounds fine, but I would rather fly planes than build them.
What drew you to software engineering?
My college offered a “math-plus” program. This was less involved than a double major but more robust than majoring in math and minoring in computer science.
My math classes were focused mostly on memorizing theories and equations. But the computer science coursework involved more creative problem-solving. I also like how, unlike other engineering paths, computer programming was something you could practice on your own — without having to buy building materials.
Finally, I like how there’s a tangible outcome. You do all of this creative problem-solving and then, when you’re done, you’ve built something tangible that people can interact with and use. You create something you can share with others. It’s the same reason I like to paint.
Oooh, tell us more about your painting.
My mom is a professional house painter, so I’ve always known my eggshell from my semi-gloss. But I didn’t start painting for fun until college. I started out with watercolor scenery. Now, I do a lot of portraits in acrylic. I like to paint people who have interesting facial features. Right now, it’s more of a hobby. But eventually I’d like to be able to do somebody justice.
Do you have any other hobbies?
In my free time, I like to get out from behind my screens and go biking or rock climbing. I also like flying, Muay Thai and scuba diving. People don’t realize what great scuba-diving opportunities we have here in the Midwest. Some of the best sunken ship diving is in Lake Michigan, thanks to the cold fresh water.
Finally, when it’s raining, I love to read.
Okay, back to work. What are three of the most interesting projects you’ve worked on recently?
I’ve helped build a more secure alternative to Google Workspace, created ways for state governments to better manage their secure court data, and worked on a platform that integrates payment processing capabilities into vehicles (so you can pay for drive-through Taco Bell without having to whip out your wallet).
Do you have a standard way of approaching projects that allows you to work for such a diverse range of industries?
I try to start by focusing specifically on the things that I need to know in order to do my job and then expand from there. That’s the exact opposite of how I used to approach projects, which was basically to learn everything about the client, their services and the overall industry. That just leads to information overload.
Now, I laser in on what I need to get started and add the most value, and then let that guide me to what I need to learn next.