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Haluk is a software engineer at Booz Allen. He's been with the firm more than 18 years, and is an industry-recognized training and learning systems architect. Haluk is also responsible for running large software development engagements and cloud implementations.
Outside of work, Haluk is anything but technical—he is a rock-climbing photographer. During his time as the official photographer for the U.S. National Rock Climbing Team, he carried up to three cameras while climbing, and took more than 5,000 pictures over a 2-day period.
“Never stop learning, never stop reading. This helps keep me sharp…so I can show up as the expert, even when I’m talking to people who may very well know more than me.”
How did you get involved in software engineering? I’m originally from Turkey where I studied electrical engineering, and engineering management. I worked as a technical team leader for 2 years with one of the leading interruptible power supply manufacturers in Turkey, and 3 years as a sales support engineer. After that, I came to the University of Texas, Dallas, as a research assistant while pursuing my master's in management information systems. There, I learned a programming language called Cool:Gen, which was the primary software development language at many federal agencies. At the time, there were only a few experts in the world with this language, so Booz Allen hired me in 1997 to work as an application/software developer.
What's the coolest project you've worked on at Booz Allen? One of the coolest projects was designing a learning management system for Booz Allen. I’m the chief architect and designer of the AtlasPro Learning Management System (LMS). The system interfaces with several Department of Defense systems. When I came onto this project, we took over for another company that went out of business. My leadership pushed me to evolve the LMS design, even thought I didn’t have the support and knowledge of the prior team. It was a challenge, but I built three generations of the LMS, that was eventually named AtlasPro. At it’s peak, there were 2.5 million users using AtlasPro, including Joint Forces command, the Army, and the Navy. That LMS project helped to grow my career into the next stage. I was a unique architect—a unique person solving these technical challenges.
What advice would you offer someone looking to grow their career at Booz Allen? Never stop learning, never stop reading. You need to push yourself to read one book per month. I have a book in my bag, a book in my office, and a book in my car. This helps keep me sharp on new technologies, so I can show up as the expert—even when I’m talking to people who know more than me.