Peter Constantinidis graduated from URI in 2001with a B.S. degree in computer science. In 2005, he received his M. S. degree in software engineering from Penn State University. Currently, he is Director, IT / Software Development at SkillSurvey, Inc in Wayne, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.
FMC: You recently began work at SkillSurvey. Tell us about your present position, and what your company does.
PC: SkillSurvey pioneered the concept of web-based reference assessment and was formed in 2001 to help organizations around the world make better hiring decisions–more efficiently and cost effectively. The premise behind our enterprise solution is that traditional phone reference checks are an outmoded and inadequate way to seek objective feedback on candidates' past performance. Our breakthrough, patent-pending approach to reference assessments is based on over 25 years of research in job competency modeling.
I currently manage the Software Development and IT department. I work closely with an offshore development team of six in India on a daily basis to design and implement our product roadmap of new features and update our patent-pending SaaS solution.
In addition, I manage the internal IT department in the corporate office. We are a small, two-person IT shop and looking to grow with the company.
FMC: Your first job after receiving your B.S. degree from URI was with Lockheed Martin. How did you get this position, and what did you do?
PC: I have to give credit to my mother for this one, for forcing to me go to the Philadelphia Job Fair during my winter break of my senior year at URI. I ended up going and handed my resume to one of the recruiters at the Lockheed Martin booth, and right then and there the recruiter wanted to bring me in for an interview the following week. After the interview, I went back to URI to finish out the school year and received an offer in the mail. I was so excited about the position and accepted the offer before I even graduated. I couldn’t believe that I landed the job, but ambition pays off.
When I first started there, I was just programming and learning the ropes of project management, and working in a real office environment. It was a very stable and steady job and a great learning opportunity for me at the moment, fresh out of college.
FMC: You stayed with Lockheed until 2007. I noticed that you worked on your Masters degree for several years during this time. Why did you decide to pursue an advanced degree?
PC: I loved working at Lockheed Martin, and the people were very smart and competitive. I ended up pursuing an advanced degree, because first of all, the company paid 100% of the tuition, and secondly I was young and eager to learn and advance my career. I figured it was the best time for me to take advantage of this opportunity.
FMC: How did you balance grad school and your career?
PC: I have to say, it was hard to balance grad school, my career, and my life all at once back then. I worked full 8-9 hour days and then went to night school right after work and ate in the car or at campus. I did somehow manage to do it all with working on the weekends and with a lot of love and support from my family and friends.
FMC: What impact did your Masters degree have on your career at Lockheed?
PC: My degree allowed me to advance within the organization and become more of a leader and mentor to other department members. It allowed me to utilize the skills I learned and to implement the theories in a real-world situation.
FMC: Why did you leave Lockheed, and how did you get your next position?
PC: I left because I felt it was time for me to venture out and see what else the world had to offer. Also, I wanted to move up the corporate ladder, and I learned to do that, you have to look and see what other opportunities are out there and go after them.
I took my time to look for a new position and researched online about several companies and came across this small manufacturing company located right in my area. It was a perfect opportunity for me at the time to learn about a different business domain and to apply my knowledge from Lockheed Martin and my grad studies.
FMC: What did you do at Global Packaging?
PC: When I was at Global Packaging, I was the Software Development Manager and worked closely with outsourced consultants and internal IT support department. I worked on enhancing their existing legacy ERP system and made great strides to implement a full ERP system, to mange their manufacturing, accounting, and materials departments.
FMC: Why did you leave?
PC: I left because I wanted to get into working strictly for a software company, where everyone’s goals are for the same outcome, delivering high quality software.
FMC: How did you find your next position—your present one at SkillSurvey—and why did you choose that particular offer?
PC: I was researching online job boards for months and came across this particular job description that piqued my interest. I applied and the next day I heard back from the hiring manager. The reason why I went after this position, was because it was with a small startup company that was focused on delivering high quality software services. With being such a small company, I knew I would make a great impact and my hard work and efforts would get recognized and rewarded.
FMC: You've made several moves from one company to another. Can you offer some advice about how to leave a current position?
PC: You always want a job that keeps you on your toes, is challenging, gets your creative juices flowing, and is fun all at the same time. Once you start to lose any of these elements, it's time to look to seek other opportunities and evaluate yourself to see if you are in the right place. Ask yourself, am I challenged enough? Can I be innovative and creative? Can I continue to advance my career? Do I enjoy waking up and going to work other than, just having to make an income? If the answer to any of these is no, then it's time for a move. When leaving a company, you should always have another job in place before you resign from another. Always know where you stand in the job market and know what other opportunities are available.
FMC: How hard do you work? Does your career leave you with enough time to enjoy life?
PC: I do still work very hard and have long and challenging workdays, but it all pays off in the end in regards to being able to live my life the way I want and enjoy it with my friends and family. There are times where work does get in the way of life, but it does leave me time to enjoy life.
FMC: Can you give some more advice to our current students?
PC: No matter how hard you may think a course you are taking, a project you are working on, or anything else you pursue may be, always work your hardest and do the best you can do. Life is challenging, but never give up and always pursue your ambitions, because if you work hard enough, you will get the things you dream and deserve.