Who are you, and what do you do?
Jim Dusseau. I’m a lead developer currently working on Camtasia Relay. I spent the last few months helping out the Coach’s Eye team.
How did you find out about TechSmith?
My manager at my previous company knew I really wanted to develop for the Mac platform. He was a Camtasia Studio user, found out about a mac development position with TechSmith, and let me know about it.
What do you like most about working at TechSmith?
I think great companies are made up of great people. This is true of TechSmith. I’m lucky to work with so many people who are dedicated to making quality products.
What setup (hardware + software) are you using?
I have a hi-res 15″ MacBook (2.66Ghz, 8 GB ram). I have a cinema display on my desk, and a half terabyte portable hard drive in my bag. I use a lot of software, but here’s the main stuff:
- Xcode, TextMate for Mac development, iOS development, and scripting.
- Parallels, Visual Studio, and NotePad++ when I need to do Windows development.
- Campfire, iChat, Communicator, and Mail for communication.
- DropBox, Evernote, iWork, Alfred, and JumpCut help me stay productive and sane.
What was the most interesting thing you’ve seen and/or done while at TechSmith?
It’s hard to pick out a single thing that was most interesting. If I have to choose just one, I think the Jing 2.0 release was most interesting for me. I was still figuring out how to be a mac developer, we had a tight deadline, and we really struggled with getting MP4 recording working the way we wanted to. It was a release that really opened up the capabilities of Jing, and I’ll always be proud of it.
Additionally, we were targeting releasing by MacWorld, which happened to be early in January. I have fond memories of developing against a holiday deadline, and the feeling of taking a vacation after being part of a team coming off of a great success.
What is a trick that you do all the time that you think not very many people know about?
Using a clipboard manager has really sped up how I develop. If you’re on the mac, I recommend JumpCut. I haven’t picked one up for when I’m in Windows yet. If you have ever copied something only to paste it in a text document so that you could copy something else, you could be saving time.
Explain how a feature goes from conception to completion on your team
For Camtasia Relay, everything starts with a problem. It might come from customers at a conference or in from support. It might come from a developer, or someone else within the company. From there, the team investigates a root cause. We then have conversations with our Product Manager, who prioritizes it along with the rest of the work we’re undertaking. Once it becomes our top priority, we brainstorm solutions, start with something small, run it by customers, and iterate on the feature until we’re satisfied that it solves the root problem in a way that meets our personal standards of quality.
I’m not sure that any feature is ever complete for us. We’re always looking for a way that our existing features can be better for our customers.
Explain how your role as a lead developer differs from a regular developer
The primary focus of lead developers is the growth of developers. They’re also expected to own the long term health of their product. This means ensuring current development fits in with a vision for the software architecture and being aware of how decisions today will affect our ability to implement the things we want to do in the future. Lead developers also have to have a rough idea of what the other teams are doing to look out for when we can leverage each other’s work. This also helps us to share the things the different product teams have learned.
Is there anything else you think people should know about being a developer at TechSmith?
Lead Developer? For me, it’s really highlighted how important communication skills are for developers. Being able to express yourself clearly, and having an understanding of where other people are coming from are among the most crucial skills when working on a team.