When you meet Darryl Hogan and dive into his early career you appreciate where he began. Imagine coding off a paper punch card, coloring in spaces with a number 2 pencil. Sounds primitive, right? Hard to believe this is the way it all began considering all the access we have today. Taking his first programming course in 10th grade, Darryl had an aptitude for solving problems. Although his comfort level in computing was high, he still didn’t realize he could pursue a future in tech. At the time, software engineering wasn’t as an established field as it is now, so his path began in electrical engineering, but as he threw himself into his courses, he realized he had made a misstep; Darryl pivoted. He found a school for computer science and he got his first taste of what it would be like to be a software engineer.
Darryl graduated and landed a job in downtown Detroit in one of the toughest areas in the city. At the time, business owners didn’t invest much into software engineering. Although Darryl’s work was needed, he didn’t get the respect coders are given today. Young, vibrant, and full of opinions, Darryl eventually landed at Kmart headquarters. This was at a point when Kmart needed to make some big changes to stay in business. He knew technology was the answer to their imminent survival. Darryl’s big ideas landed him a team of 5 people. Together they collaborated to solve problems and even had a hackathon.
By 1998, Darryl found himself at a job fair. Recruiters were busy pushing roles writing code for Cobol. In the distance he saw the Microsoft banner. He spoke to the recruiter, who later reached out to him when an opportunity came up in Detroit, which is near his hometown of Windsor, Ontario. Over 20 years later, he describes his role on the CSE team as one of the hardest jobs he’s ever had. It challenges him in a good way. Darryl feels if you embrace your role and you are truly dedicated and passionate about what you do, you can make your own way because there are always opportunities for your success. What has kept him at Microsoft is the high expectations people have for each other, which always keeps him at his best.
One of his most memorable projects was joint venture between Daimler, the world’s largest maker of premium cars, and Bosch, the world’s biggest automotive supplier. The goal of “Project Athena” was to use dev ops to evaluate autonomous driving. Darryl and his team did a lot of listening to the customers’ concerns and ideas about how to build out their program. He enjoyed being able to provide alternative and modern solutions to give the two companies exactly what they wanted. What Darryl loves most about CSE is creating differentiation in the world. He believes there is still much we haven’t explored. He never knows if the next project he works on will change the world.