Maria - employee

Meet Maria
Database Architect

Official mother of @winterlabradoodle. Unofficial guardian of CMiC Tools. Longest running holiday door prize champion.

If you ask anybody in the office about Maria, the response you’re going to get is, “I love Maria!!!” And how can you not when her laugh is as infectious as her personality. Always the first on the dance floor and to answer your tools-related questions, she’ll quickly make her passion for both known.

When did you join CMiC and why?

I joined sometime in December in 2003 after moving to Toronto from Colombia in 2001. I studied engineering back in Colombia and worked in software development using Oracle tools. I took a course at the University of Toronto and was placed in a co-op position at CMiC right after my studies. I got a contract a couple of months later, and I’ve been here ever since!

What is your role at CMiC?

I am a Database Architect for CMiC Tools. As one of the first members on this team, I designed and wrote most of the database that supports the tools in CMiC, like the Console, Lite Editor, Program Builder and UIRuntime engine. Because of this knowledge, I also provided training to application developers, support, consulting and even to some of our customers. Today, I no longer do training but rather my focus is on the database design, performance and development.

I’ve moved a lot within the company during my long tenure—14 years now! In the past, I was the team lead for the Assets programming group and the CRM programming group team lead at another point. But when the opportunity to write our Development Tools appeared, I took it, as that would allow me to go full time into programming. Programming is my true passion (I think of it like a puzzle—and I love puzzles!), and it was also a great opportunity to write a product from scratch.

Regardless of my position, I get to talk to a lot of people across different departments. Many people come to me for support about our Tools product.

What was the most interesting program you’ve made so far in CMiC?

I would say the entire Tools set because I know how much work has gone into it, having been involved since the beginning. We encountered our fair share of issues and missing features but having the mindset of a developer means that we can help to devise practical solutions. My long tenure at CMiC was helpful because I understand how things should run and what the developers’ needs are.

Share with me your best CMiC memory.

The holiday party each year because I can connect with the colleagues I don’t see on a day-to-day basis. But I have to be honest: I used to like the holiday parties better when there were less people because I would always win the door prize! Especially in the last two years we’ve really grown—so now I don’t win! I’m joking, I love the fact that the CMiC family is welcoming new members, haha.

*Some of the prizes Maria has won: voucher for $250 hotel stay in Niagara Falls, various gift cards, an iPod Mini.

Where is the best lunch spot?

Genji Sushi close by or Sofra Mediterranean, where I typically order the lentil soup. It’s very good. I always make sure to go with someone else, so I have someone to split the kafta kabab with.

What do you listen to on your morning commute?

I take the subway into work because I live downtown. The subway station is only two minutes from my house. During my commute, I listen to music or read. I’m currently reading Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Go-to CMiC office snack?

I always reach for the fruit, especially the bananas. I love mangos but we don’t have those in the office… yet (crossing my fingers!).

What’s your favourite programming language.

PL/SQL. I think it is a simple and powerful language, and it is one of the pillars of our system. I use it every day and I like that it doesn’t require a special editor.

What is your favourite part of the day?

Lunch! It’s when I get to talk to other people. And yoga because it’s super relaxing for me. I manage to really disconnect for the 60 minutes of class—that’s assuming I make it. I always tell myself that “I’m going!” to yoga at 11 o’clock, which then turns into a “I think I’m going?” at 11:30… then an “okay, I’ll keep working” at 11:50. Oops!

Any tips for someone looking to join the CMiC team?

Come with an open mind to learn about what we do. As a developer, it’s important to come ready to absorb everything because—despite the programming languages being the same—how we do things and the processes may be different from what you’re used to.

I’m an example of the opportunities to move around and join different departments at CMiC. It also helps that everyone is cool, welcoming and helpful. Lots of learning and fun to be had—I wouldn’t have stuck around for 14 years if there wasn’t!

What do you do for fun?

I play recreational ultimate once a week. I also love dancing. Any opportunity to dance, I will take it. I also love reading and, above all else, my dog. He is a Labradoodle named Winter, who I bring to my office sometimes (so stop by and say ‘hi!’).

What is a common misconception about programmers?

That they are boring geeks who don’t like to do fun things. I don’t understand where that comes from because most of the programmers I know are fun. My team has a fun dynamic and we’re a cool team overall. We often go out for lunch together and sometimes beers after work. I’m the unofficial social committee for my team (fun fact: I was a part of the CMiC Social Committee back in the day, but I’ve since passed the torch along!).