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Behind the Scenes of the AutoCAD Team: John Beltran, Senior Software Architect

Heather Miller
September 19, 2016

Behind the Scenes of the AutoCAD Team is a new series spotlighting Autodesk employees devoted to developing AutoCAD further every day.  

John Beltran is a Senior Software Architect on the AutoCAD team. Having spent the past 23 years primarily working on AutoCAD, it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about the product. Here, John shares his role on the AutoCAD team and what drives him every day.

John Beltran

Why did you join the AutoCAD team?
I joined Autodesk after working for an AutoCAD third-party developer for a few years. Since I had worked at a software development organization on an AutoCAD vertical product the transition to the AutoCAD team was natural.

But, OK, I admit it. It was the opportunity to play football (soccer) at lunch that sealed the deal.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
I have spent most of my time on the AutoCAD team working in the core AutoCAD source code, which continues to be my main activity. My primary responsibility is to ensure that the work we do is of high quality and achieves the organization goals, while keeping an eye out for the “big picture” and ensuring that the way we solve a particular problem (there are always at least three ways) balances the right trade-offs between expediency and quality.

I work closely with other engineers on a daily basis. Our coding efforts span everything from adding features to AutoCAD, fixing defects, optimizing performance, or “refactoring” existing intellectual property to leverage its strengths in new features, platforms, or applications. I write code, review others’ code, consult on problems, and meet with other teams to coordinate efforts.
John Beltran playing soccer for the Autodesk team.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is solving problems for our users and helping them to make the world a better place. I could probably work for a financial software services company or a social media company and help their users solve problems, but I’m not sure I could trace my efforts to the world being a better place. Software I’ve written has been used to design just about everything we see—that’s quite an impact, even if my name isn’t on it.

What are you most proud of with your work on AutoCAD?
I am most proud of my work on the AutoCAD dynamic blocks feature. It was ranked one of the top 10 features in the past 10 years to be added to AutoCAD, was well received when it first released, and has stood the test of time.

What is one of your favorite stories about interacting with AutoCAD users?
One year at Autodesk University I was having lunch and casual conversations with other people at the table. When one user found out I was part of the team who works on AutoCAD he stopped eating and asked me again: “You work on AutoCAD? Really? I never thought I’d meet someone who worked on it. You guys rock.” It’s my favorite part of the job:  solving problems for our users.

Stay tuned for more profiles in this series on AutoCAD team members coming soon.

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Heather Miller

Heather Miller is a freelance writer and editor, producing thought-leadership content, blogs, and customer success stories for a variety of organizations from startups to Fortune 500 companies.