Mike Treadway came to Kyndryl to design scalable systems that are built to be adaptable. Treadway was selected to be part of the inaugural class of Kyndryl Distinguished Engineers, leading innovators who are shaping the future of Kyndryl and driving change in the industry.
What’s your role at Kyndryl?
I’m a software engineer, which means I write code, but I also do a lot of architecture work. There’s a big need to design successful systems that grow and scale as businesses change. If you build systems and software the right way, it allows you to adapt to those changes quickly. My role is to ensure that the technical architecture and the development is all going down that path. The challenge is to design our systems, processes, and approaches in a way that supports everything customers want and also supports what we need to do as a business, without having costs go through the roof.
What are some of the big initiatives you’re working on?
I have a couple big projects around artificial intelligence for IT operations — platform-building work that’s meant to streamline operations for our customers and also for our own professionals.
In general, we’re working hard to be more operationally efficient in how we leverage machine learning and AI across our business. It’s easy to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to build something brand-new, and everyone will move over to it.’ But it's nearly impossible to execute because clients want to bring their own tools and processes. That’s where my work and skillset proves incredibly useful.
What sent you down this path in technology?
As a little kid, I was making inventions all the time, taking things apart and putting them back together, pretending like I was building something new. And then I started coding in QBasic. After abandoning my career as a musician, I wanted to go back to my real love of software engineering. Being able to create code that saves people hours and hours of labor is very satisfying.
At the same time, it seems like there’s a strong connection between your work in software development today and music, yes?
I think so, yes. When you’re composing and playing music, you’re working with interpretation, creativity, and development. I have all these notes that I can play, and when I put them together, that creates a new thing that makes people happy. Architecture is exactly the same; you just have different constraints. I completely see it as an art form.
Do you have any other hobbies that let you tap into your brand of technical creativity?
Well, I am a home beer brewer, and my setup is pretty involved.
My fermentation vessel has ‘Internet of Things’ devices that measure fermentation progress, temperatures, and automation which is going to a Raspberry Pi that I set up, so I can see all this data in visual graphs. I think I’m a little bit at the forefront there. It’s my nature to fully understand something. And then I like to build on that to create cool things, including beer.
How does being a Distinguished Engineer make you feel?
When a Distinguished Engineer speaks, you listen up. I feel more of a sense of responsibility than anything — not just to the company, but to my peers and the people I work with. To get to this level, it took a lot of hours and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I worked extremely hard. So I’m a bit relieved but also I’m so laser-focused on moving forward that it’s important for me to stop and savor. It’s truly a huge honor.
It's also worth saying: Kyndryl abounds with opportunity, and that’s because of our customer and industry diversity. Any new hire here who is looking to build their technical career is going to be exposed to a wide variety of cloud providers, technologies, industries, and types of customers, which makes you more diverse as an engineer. It gives you the opportunity to take the best parts of all these technologies to create new and interesting things, which is really cool.