I no longer work at Autodesk anymore. In fact I have not worked there since last spring. I and another developer, and almost the entire documentation department were laid off. In fact, that spring the entire Softimage product was discontinued too.
My highlights of working at Autodesk were these:
1. It was my first job at a big company (before I was self-employed). While I went through a big company, but the big company didn’t go through me. Once the company gets big enough it is hard to listen to customers. Especially when all are clamoring for bug fixes that should have been fixed last year, or 18 years ago.
2. I learned the craft of software development, for which I’ll always be grateful.
3. I learned how to make good code, and saw lots of examples of bad code.
4. I learned that if software quality is like a river of fire. If it gets out of control, and passes through the banks guiding the river, it will burn everything. Therefore bug counts have to be kept under strict control for a software product. If they are allowed to proliferate beyond the ability to get fixed, then the product suffers.
5. I almost single-handedly saved 3dsmax. When I started, the average time (in days) between a crash was in the mid single digits. When I finished the max 2014 release was more stable than Maya: in the low 40’s. That was my effort mostly with a bit of help in the last year for the 2014 release. Still the stability of 3dsmax was still no where near the rock-solid stability of Autocad. In all the years I used Autocad (at work and personally) I don’t think it ever crashed on me. At least not that I can remember. My personal opinion is that Max will never again have a sustained effort to fix crashes like they had when I was there. Simply because mostly: No one cared like I did.
6. I think it is time for a new 3D product to be built from the ground up. To avoid the problems that a mountain of code imposes. To have a modern take on a 3D application that is not hobbled by the 30 year old windows win32 API, and that is easy to develop for. If anyone is interested in such an effort please contact me privately.
Anyways after I left Autodesk, I worked at a local boutique software house called Century Software. It was the opposite of Autodesk: small having less than 10 people. They also have a very old product called TinyTerm: A terminal emulator. While it is old, it is a great product. Also the team there was a lot of fun. It was a breath of fresh air. I re-learned old C skills for which I’m grateful, but I also learned how to use a source control package named git. For which I’m even more grateful.
So what am I doing now?
As of January of 2015 I work at at company called Instructure. The environment is terrific, the people there are young and very smart. It is an awesome place for developers. I can’t say enough good things about this place. I work on a beautiful product called Bridge, which is a learning management system for business’s.