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Insights from a Software Architect at Fall Commencement

Insights from a Software Architect at Fall Commencement

Students graduating this December will hear from an accomplished and world-changing software architect who walked across a similar UT stage—twice. 

James Scott completed two degrees in mathematics, finishing a Master's in 1996 on the heels of a B.S. three years earlier. Since graduation, Scott worked developing software for distributed Unix-based systems and is now a principal software engineer in the Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services (IIS). An active member of the Texas Exes, he currently represents the College of Natural Sciences on the Texas Exes Council and serves on the Texas Exes Chapter Advisory Board, and he is a member of the College of Natural Sciences Advisory Council.

Can you share a bit of your time in Austin? What role did UT play in helping you grow?

When I started at UT in 1988, I was part of the first class of the Emerging Scholars program [Editor's note: Emerging Scholars had challenging, honors-track offerings for select incoming freshmen]. The program helped me tremendously. I do not know that I would have done as well in calculus had I not participated. My mathematics background has been extremely useful for software engineering.

What advice do you have for students about the skills will they need for the next few years?

Be open to opportunities. Be willing to go outside of Austin. Network with peers and share information with each other. I have a narrow focus of my field since I have spent my entire professional career at a defense contractor. But technology jobs are available to more than just computer scientists or engineers.

What interests do you have outside of your career, and does this bring fresh insight?

One of my passions is supporting the University through Texas Exes. I have been an active member of the Dallas Chapter board since 2002. My advice to every graduate is to stay connected with the University through the College of Natural Sciences and the Texas Exes. This is our brand, and we need to protect and promote it. I would also want them to understand that the University, the College and the Texas Exes are there for them.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of meeting a supportive wife who allows me to devote time and energy to support UT. She is a big fan of UT even though she attended the University of Florida.

Do you have favorite Austin memories to share?

As a mathematics student, I spent a majority of my time at Speedway and Dean Keaton, in RLM. But some favorite memories are playing cards and dominoes in the dorm after study sessions and attending the performances of Ax Nelson, a band that included Dr. Efraim Armendariz on rhythm guitar.

Do you have anything else to add?

Hook 'em!

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Friday, 27 January 2023

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