A/V Spotlight: Hope Roth, Lead Crestron Certified Programmer at Riordan Brothers
I am an automation programmer who wears many hats. I work for a small company, which means that I help out with a little bit of everything. I love my job! Every day is a chance to figure out a new puzzle. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram via @beerandpie.
– Hope Roth
What is something unique about the A/V industry that not many people know?
It’s not just conference rooms and family TV rooms! Some of the coolest projects out there involve non-traditional spaces.
What is something in life that you are passionate about?
Teaching others! I love mentoring the junior programmers at our company. I also volunteer with AVIXA as a CTS instructor and help lead a CTS study group as part of the AVIXA Women’s Council. In my private life, I’m my daughter’s Girl Scout troop leader, which is incredibly rewarding.
What would you do differently if you were starting in your industry now?
I would have focused more on computer networking. I’m good at talking to IT departments, and I am generally able to handle any network configurations that come my way, but I wish I had more experiences with firewalls, VLANs, etc.
What’s the best advice about the Audio Visual industry you have ever received?
Ask questions! Whenever I meet someone who is working on something that’s new to me, I ask them all about what they’re doing. We are a friendly industry, people love to tell you about their jobs! As a programmer, my work touches a little bit of everything. My years of curiosity have really helped me to understand how it all comes together.
What does a usual workday look like for you?
When I’m not traveling, I work out of my home office. After I drop my daughter off at school, you’ll find me prepping code, and/or supporting coworkers in the field. I’m usually juggling several jobs at once. On a travel day, I’m up early to fly or drive to a job site. On a job site, I’m working to get all of the hardware online and configured, as well as loading and testing my code.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to become a Crestron Programmer?
Learn traditional software development first! There is a whole world of materials out there, take advantage of it! You can find courses online, as well as at community colleges. A solid understanding of algorithms will help you so much more than knowing specific syntax. The best advantage in my career has been that my computer science degree taught me how to reason through any programming task. Given enough time, I can figure out how to get a program go in any environment/programming language.
What do you see as the future of A/V?
I wish I knew! Some days I see us joining forces with the overall technology industry. Some days I worry that a startup will figure out how to program a boardroom for 90% cheaper and I’ll be out of a job. I do think we’re going to have to grow up as an industry. And I see the divide between small jobs and large jobs getting larger. Nobody wants medium-sized conference rooms or slightly custom houses anymore. There is still a place for bespoke programming of a town hall room or fully customized house, but the standards are only going to go up.
What is something that folks would be surprised to learn about you?
For someone whose job often revolves around them, I don’t watch very much TV! When I get home, I’m tired of sitting in front of a screen and I want to unwind away from screens. I’m much more likely to spend an evening reading a book or working on a craft project. We have a Crestron Digital Media system at our house, as well as a music system that I’ve patched together from spare parts and leftovers. I use the music system so much more.