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The Business of Binary


For BYU alumnus Dan Olsen III, computer science isn’t just a passion — it’s a family tradition.

“My father was a [computer science] professor at BYU so I just grew up with it,” Olsen said. “As I got into computers, I enjoyed being able to build things and see them work. I kept going down that path and I’m still doing it today.”

Olsen received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from BYU in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Recently, he started his own business.

“Right now I . . . contract my time out to people, but at the same time I’m building an online product,” Olsen said. “I work anywhere from requirements-gathering to actual programming, and project and team management. Just about anything.”

His team consists of about twenty workers in India, and his company usually works with one to four clients at a time.

“On an average day, I take a look at projects I’ve got going on, then I prioritize and I work with my team to make sure they’re on track,” Olsen said. “Then I start writing code for what I’ve got.”

Olsen’s favorite part of his job is the final step — presenting to the client.

“The most rewarding part is handing [the project] over to a customer, seeing them be able to use it, and [having it] do what they need it to do,” Olsen said.

Olsen loves running his own company, but he also looks back at his previous employment experiences to better his business model.

“Some of my biggest accomplishments are each of the jobs I did before I started my own business,” Olsen said. “[I was] able to help teams have . . . a more efficient process to improve project completion. It’s something that I brought into my own business.”

Olsen believes the most important part of his job is being able to see the big picture of what his clients are trying to accomplish.

“[I need] to see that there’s something they really want and then . . . fill that gap for them,” Olsen said. “To see not just the code I’m writing but how the customer wants it to work, how it’s going to improve their business.”

No matter what aspect of his business he’s working on, Olsen enjoys everything he does.

“I like interacting with people and I like writing code,” Olsen said. “I like helping people succeed. When I can do that, it makes it all worth it.”