Meet BT's new Chief Technology Officer

Breakthrough has a new CTO! This Summer, Gus Koumarales accepted the position to step up and lead the Breakthrough team by guiding us in the next generation of technological advances that we will be navigating over the coming years. Gus has been a superior technology leader on a variety of projects, and has been instrumental in forming and shaping the development culture at Breakthrough over the past three years.

We sat down with Gus for some Q&A to understand what he sees as the future of technology at BT:

Gus Koumarelas has been with Breakthrough for several years. In September of 2017, he was named Chief Technology Officer by the managing partners. We sat down with Gus and asked him some questions about his vision for technology at Breakthrough Technologies.

Can you tell us about your professional background?

I've spent over 20 years in the software industry, working as an application developer, technology consultant, and solutions architect at organizations ranging from large enterprises to early stage startups. My focus has primarily been on the backend, including database and API development. Most recently I've had the opportunity to lead teams that have built cloud-native applications in the education space, with an emphasis on high scalability and automation.

Can you tell us a little bit about you personally?

My parents immigrated from Greece, so of course I love Greek food and culture. As a native-born Chicagoan I enjoy all the city has to offer and am a loyal fan of the local sports teams, especially the Cubs. But my true loves are my beautiful wife, Maria, and our adorable 16-month old daughter, Katerina.

What intrigues you in technology today?

Software and the internet have become ubiquitous, with kids being taught how to code at an early age and seniors using apps on their smartphones. Yet two seemingly intractable problems remain. First, a digital divide persists that limits opportunities for low socioeconomic status populations. Second, despite years of research and advances in human computer interaction and user experience design, most software is still too hard to use. I'm very curious to see what kind of solutions our industry will develop to address these problems in the future.

What trends do you think are shaping our industry?

Continued advances in cloud computing and, more recently, serverless architectures are profoundly impacting the design and economics of highly scalable, distributed systems, and we've seen numerous examples of this at Breakthrough in the past few years. The automation of everything from infrastructure provisioning to testing is increasing productivity across a number of disciplines. I also see functional programming, while not new, as being a major influence, with benefits including simplified reasoning, improved correctness, and easier concurrency.

What do you see in the future for our industry?

The achievements of our industry thus far have been nothing short of remarkable, but I only see that pace accelerating. I expect AI and machine learning will be more deeply and transparently incorporated into our everyday activities. As software engineers, we'll help shape this evolution, which I view as both a tremendous opportunity and responsibility. This is an exciting time to be in software!

How do you plan on guiding Breakthrough and its clients through these trends and changes?

Breakthrough's people are its greatest asset, and I want to empower them to do creative, fulfilling, and amazing work for our clients. Fostering an environment that values curiosity and experimentation and builds trust is critical. We need to stay abreast of the latest developments, but also make sure that we're using the right tool for the job. Ultimately, I believe the sharing of knowledge, both internally and externally, will serve Breakthrough and our clients well.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

I'll have to go with Star Wars, although I've never been a huge sci-fi or fantasy fan.

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