Xplorer Chuck Cerrillo
Precision, puzzles, and software programming.
When it comes to values and passions, Xplorers boast a wide range: musicals, traveling and exercising to name a few. For Chuck Cerillo, it’s precision. And puzzles.
“I love trying to understand how things work. In my childhood, I would pick apart toys to see how their components fit together and try to put them back again,” he said.
A software engineer for Childcare & Education at Xplor Technologies, Chuck describes himself as a systematic and structured person. However, others have described him as a creative person – but he doesn’t consider himself one.
“My artistry lies in defining a set of rules and adhering to these sets of rules. Where others see art, I see patterns,” he said. “I tend to analyze everything and find reason to their being, then define a pattern or formula that would describe the art. Then when I start making my own 'art', I just call upon the patterns that I have learned and use them in ways that I think works well. That is how I express my 'creativity'.”
This way of working and thinking helped him gravitate towards math and science, which then led him down the software engineering path. With a computer science degree and over a decade of experience in the field, Chuck says that any young person who aspires to be a software engineer should be sure of one thing: that they’re absolutely sure they want to be a software engineer. Then, of course, they should ask themselves if they like puzzles. If the answer is 'yes' to both, they’re on the right track.
Chuck also said that trying a lot of things can help them better find their specialty.
“They should take all the risks while they’re young and flexible,” he said. “It’s easier to change programming languages or skill sets while they’re still figuring out what aspect of software engineering they want to sink their teeth into. In the end it’s all about the passion for the job. This will drive them through both the fun and the mundane parts.”
Chuck has been at Xplor for two years as a software engineer, and attributes a lot of his teams’ success to a simple yet consistent meeting - their daily standups.
“We huddle together and get up to speed on how all our teams are doing and find out if anyone is experiencing any obstacles or blockers. Most of the time we’re unobstructed, but when we’re faced with challenges, we all pitch in to help where it’s needed,” he said.
Interestingly, Chuck found Xplor by chance after taking a two-month sabbatical. Though he was looking for full-time work, he took a chance on a contract offer.
“I was just starting to look for companies to apply for and I got a call for a short-term contract work with Xplor,” he said. “It was an eerie coincidence as at that very moment I was on Xplor’s Home app when the call came through. I was just picking up my son from childcare.
“The Home app is everything you’d expect from a modern phone app. It looks slick and the interface is intuitive, so the whole experience was fun. We were anxious that our son might not be eating properly or going to the toilet, so getting those food and toilet updates from the educators at his center really eased our minds.”
Within a week, he came on board for a three-month contract, and later became a full-time Xplorer, achieving his original goal of finding a permanent position. Chuck’s team manages Xplor’s Office software, where they build the features and tools that administrators use to manage their childcare center. Chuck is a full stack engineer which means he works on both the Office interface and back-end functionality.
“I have immensely enjoyed working with the Office team,” he said. “My colleagues are awesome. Work does not feel like work. And my bosses also liked me so much that they bought me out of my contractor post and offered me a permanent role!”
When asked how Xplor has helped him reach his full potential, he says he’s constantly provided ways to improve himself and his skills and accumulate knowledge – something that keeps him active and happy. He says one program, the My10% initiative, is especially impactful in providing ways to gain new skills.
“Our team sets aside four hours every week that we can use in whatever way we want to improve our skills. I have mostly spent that time taking programming courses in Udemy and spent some of that time taking courses related to some of my hobbies.”
While we didn’t ask him to demonstrate his juggling skills, we did ask him what Xplor value most resonates with him. To Chuck, it’s build for people.
“It puts into words a lot of things that I am passionate about,” he said. “All my life I’ve been studying what other people do and trying to replicate them. Building for people, for me, means instead of just working on things that I’m interested in, I now know to focus my attention on things that I believe can improve people’s lives.”