Eric Kaczmarek joined Intel right out of college in 1996. Now a manager with the Intel Architecture, Graphics, and Software group (IAGS), he and his team of software engineers are hard at work on the next generation of memory technologies.
We recently caught up with Eric to learn more about IAGS, the huge implications of in-persistent-memory, and what keeps him excited to go to work every morning – even after 21 years.
At the most basic level, what do you do as a Senior Software Architect in IAGS?
What my team does is when Intel releases new features we work with companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and others to modify their software so that it can start using those new features. At the end of the day, we enable the entire software ecosystem across the world to use everything that Intel produces.
We’re also a research/product team. We are the ones who go out and find out what’s next – what’s the next big thing in software that we need to enable. I have a lot more freedom than in many other places. I get to drive what my team and I do.
How do you feel like your job enables you to make an impact?
I feel like I couldn’t work in a group that has a bigger impact. Today there are something like a billion Java users, I’m exaggerating, but it’s a huge number and all of them, sooner or later, are running my code. So everything we do, everything we modify, everyone is making use of that. That is pretty amazing.
Is there a particularly important project you are working on now?
Yes, 3D XPoint™ memory. I truly believe this is the next thing that will change the way we write and use software. It’s a new type of memory that is no longer just memory, it is data that remains in memory. Today, you use an application and must save your data to storage before you shut down your machine. This would remove the need for storage. Everything would be memory all the time.
This would revolutionize and change the way people think of compute and will require a major software rewrite. I cannot divulge the names of the customers we working with right now, but there’s a group of really big players building new software around this. So [this technology] is critical for Intel, not just my team.
If you’d like to learn more about our opportunities in IAGS, click here.
What should potential recruits know about working in IAGS?
It’s a popular belief that Intel is a hardware company not a software company, and that perception needs to change. We work across the entire software stack from the bottom to the top. When you join IAGS, you have the opportunity to work on a vast array of software solutions and can work on whatever you want. You get opportunities to work on things you couldn’t work on anywhere else in the world. You get to work on things that are unheard of anywhere else and that’s exiting. It’s like seeing the future.
And most likely whatever you do, it will be touched by software developers across the entire world. There’s nothing cooler to me than knowing that I wrote a piece of code and people around the world, without even knowing it, will be using it for the next 50 years.
Describe the culture in IAGS.
I am really result driven, so I am not someone who cares how many hours you spend in the office. We have a life-friendly environment. We don’t want someone to work so hard they burn out and leave. The balance between work and outside life is really important to me.
What are the must-haves for being successful in IAGS?
You need to love what you do. Unless you like writing software, and unless you like being an inspector and finding problems, you will not be successful.
If you love what you do, we can teach you the rest. We can teach you how to write code, we can teach you how to do performance work. We can teach you anything, but you have to like it.
In my case, I joined Intel because I’ve always loved software, and that’s why it’s so easy for me. I wake up every day, but I never go to work. To me, it’s fun.