Q&A With Laserfiche Principal Software Engineer, Paolo Argentieri
By John Grossi
What is your job description?
As a principal software engineer at Laserfiche, I manage various development teams. My main focus is to help every team member develop professionally and foster a safe, happy and productive work environment. My passion is using innovation and creativity to deliver value to as many users as possible.
What sort of purpose do you feel in your job and/or why do you believe your line of work is important and meaningful?
My purpose is to deliver, to the widest possible user base, software that “people love to use” to quote Laserfiche founder Nien-Ling Wacker. At the end of the day, we all want to live a happy and fulfilling life. To get there, we need to minimize mindless repetitive activities so that we can dedicate more time to creative activities and human interactions. Technological innovation is the prime driver in increasing the time we can allocate to these more fulfilling activities.
What is the most exciting part of your day-to-day work?
To see a product, or a feature of a product I worked on, being adopted by users. It’s also great when we receive feedback, good or bad; it means that whoever is reviewing or using the product or feature cares. That’s what keeps me going.
What do you think the future of your industry looks like in 15 years? How will it be different from what you do now?
The trend of connected and smart everything will continue at an accelerated pace. That’s a lot of software that needs to be written and maintained. There is already a developer shortage in excess of 1 million in the US alone. My prediction is that the craft and tooling of software development will be transformed from the labor-intensive techniques we use today to an AI assisted software development environment. Basically, software developers will act more like dog trainers than algorithmic logic coders.
When did you decide you wanted to enter this field? What steps did you take to make that decision a reality?
My first program was on an HP calculator. It was an infinite loop: Print a number, increment by 1, repeat. I was 14 years old, and I was hooked. It is well-known that programmers would rather spend a day implementing an algorithm than five minutes doing the same repetitive task manually. It’s the satisfaction of creating something that, in a way, is alive.
During my high school years, I started programming simple games on Apple II and Atari 800. I went on to earn a master’s in mechanical engineering while creating custom software extensions for AutoCAD computer-aided design (CAD), and numerical analysis of dynamic mechanical structures. I was torn between working for Ferrari or Microsoft. Well, neither hired me. I started my professional career in industrial process automation first as a proposal engineer, then as a consultant doing one-off software projects and eventually, after four years, joining as a software engineer in the big league: the R&D department of ABB, a big multinational.
Today, I lead a team of software engineers at Laserfiche aiming to continually enhance our product.
For any student, age 12-18 who thinks your job sounds interesting, what advice would you give them to help them learn/train/explore your field?
What makes Long Beach a great place to live and work as it relates to your industry?
Long Beach is right in between Los Angeles and Orange counties, one of the top areas in the nation for innovation, with a vast pool of employers, entrepreneurs and startups. Long Beach is also one of the most diverse cities in California; there is a little bit of everything here. It feels real and real is beautiful.