For UT ECE Alum Hyrum Wright, Open-Source Software Coding Opened Career Doors

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 7:00pm

Article by Rick Docksai, reprinted with permission from Software Engineer Insider

Volunteering experience—every young person who’s got a career field in mind looks for it, most often through internships and fellowships. If you’re a student of software engineering, though, then there might be no better place to look than the domain of open-source software development. That’s according to Hyrum Wright, who is now happily working as a software engineer in the Pittsburgh office of Google. The path to his present-day job started, he says, with the hours that he logged weekly volunteering code to the collaborative software program Subversion.

“I worked on it first as a hobby and then as a way to feed my family, because I have four kids,” Wright says.

Wright started working on open-source code for Subversion while a graduate student at the University of Texas-Austin, from which he graduated last May with a PhD in software engineering. He first downloaded Subversion to use it in some of his courses. But then he discovered the online network of Subversion contributors. Intrigued, he decided to get involved. It was a decision that he says paid off at many junctures throughout his years in school and, later on, during his job search.