Name: Spencer Kuzara

Age: 28 years

Where you work: Cypher Software

What you do: Software developer

Where did you grow up?

Good ol’ Sheridan, Wyoming!

If you attended college, where and what did you study?

I attended Sheridan College and studied machine tool technology. I highly recommend the program if you are a critical thinker and enjoy solving problems.

The tech world can be a big, intimidating place — how did you end up doing the work you’re doing?

I’ve been interested in technology and computers from a very young age but my interest in coding didn’t fully take hold until a few years ago. I’ve dabbled with code since high school (I had taken a coding class in high school that wasn’t very interesting) but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to just sit down and teach myself. There are tons of free resources available online for people who are into this sort of thing.

What are you most excited about in terms of technological advancements you’ve seen in your lifetime?

The most interesting advancements, to me, are really occurring with the internet as a whole. I’m old enough to remember dial-up and bbs and I think the internet is finally getting a place where we understand what it could actually be. Now I’m excited to see where we’ll take it to next.

How could Sheridan become a hub for tech businesses? What does the community need to do to welcome those kinds of companies?

Education. Businesses need to understand why they need a web presence, whether they need a website or Facebook. They need to understand what digital currencies are and how it can affect the overall cost of doing business. We also need to be welcoming to new tech businesses, and not just the big guys (startups too!). In short, for tech businesses to thrive here, we need a community that is genuinely interested in technology — a community that asks questions and isn’t afraid to try the next big thing.

What do you think the biggest misconception is about working in the tech field?

The biggest misconception is that we’re really good with math. Or just “born with it.” The tech field is like any other field in that, if you’re interested in it and take time to learn, you can become competent. If you take the time to learn the intricacies, you can become even better. I promise you, computer programmers are not magic (and most of us have social skills!).

You’re a bit of a Bitcoin guru. How did you get involved in that world and what have you learned about it?

Bitcoin (and blockchain in general) is a very interesting concept that captured my attention in 2010. I can’t exactly recall how I came across it, but it was a very esoteric thing that I found intriguing. For the first time in history, we have a digital piece of property that cannot be copied — only transferred, thus creating a virtual ‘scarcity’ akin to digital gold. If that’s not cool I don’t know what is!

Along the way I’ve learned about many different ways that the underlying concept of a blockchain can be used in various other industries. It’s very much in the early days of it’s lifespan and I’m really interested on what will happen in the blockchain space.

What advice would you give to people who find technology intimidating?

There is definitely a lot to overcome — personal information online, ads, spyware, viruses, etc.

Once that fear subsides though, you will be met with tools that can drastically improve your life in more ways than one. Driving a car was scary at first too — but I’m sure glad I learned.

What is one perk a company has to offer for you to be interested in working for it?

I like making my own schedule and having the autonomy that I currently do. So the one perk that is a must for me is: flexibility.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I have a big thing for motorcycles. I have a junk bike that I’ve been trying to restore for a few years now — sadly I don’t know much about engines.

Tell me about a time you’ve overcome a challenge (this can be personal of professional).

When I was 8 years old I asked for a computer for my birthday. When the day finally came I had a giant box that I was sure was a computer! It wasn’t. It was a box of computer parts. My dad thought that I should have to put one together if I really wanted a computer. This was before the days of YouTube and I really struggled to get it together and working. Once I did, I had that computer for a very long time.