Software Engineering in Life Sciences with Brandon VanArman, Medtronic: Life Sciences — In Focus Podcast Ep 4


Life Sciences — In Focus Podcast: Ep 43 - Brandon VanArman, Software Systems Engineer (Contractor), Medtronic

On this insightful episode of the Life Sciences – In Focus podcast, Host María Mateos is joined by Brandon VanArman, a seasoned Software Systems Engineer and contractor at Medtronic, who shares his extensive knowledge and experience in software development for the life sciences and language industry.

The Journey to Software Systems Engineering and Life Sciences 

Brandon’s journey in software engineering began in April 2012, a day he fondly recalls not only for starting his career but also for passing his driver’s license exam. From his initial role as a software tester for medical devices focused on infusion and pain management, Brandon’s career trajectory has been impressive. Over the years, he has honed his skills in various areas, including verification, validation, and localization. His experience spans over a decade, significantly contributing to the life sciences industry.

The Unique Challenges of Life Sciences Software Development

Brandon’s extensive background in life sciences has equipped him with a unique perspective on the challenges and intricacies of developing software in a regulated industry. He emphasized the importance of rigorous documentation, adherence to FDA guidelines, and meticulous risk assessments to ensure patient safety and compliance with regulatory standards.

One of the standout moments in the conversation was Brandon’s comparison of software development to learning a new language. He highlighted how software, much like language, has its own rules and structures that must be meticulously followed to achieve the desired outcomes. This analogy resonates deeply, especially given his passion for languages and cultures.

Localization: Bridging the Gap Between Software and Culture

Localization, a field Brandon stumbled upon and grew passionate about, plays a crucial role in making medical devices accessible and user-friendly across different regions. He shared fascinating insights into the complexities of localization, such as handling space constraints in languages like German and managing right-to-left languages like Arabic. His experiences underline the importance of considering localization from the outset of software development to avoid costly and time-consuming reworks.

Brandon’s role at Medtronic involves advising on software aspects of localization, ensuring that the products are technically sound and culturally appropriate for their intended markets. He shared anecdotes of working on devices that required special font assessments and adaptations to accommodate languages with unique characteristics, demonstrating the meticulous attention to detail required in his line of work.

Cultural Sensitivity in Medical Software

Brandon’s discussion on cultural considerations in software localization was particularly enlightening. He explained how different languages and cultures necessitate tailored approaches to software development. For instance, the space taken by characters in languages like Thai can significantly impact the design and usability of medical devices. Similarly, the integration of right-to-left languages requires careful planning and execution.

He advises anyone in the field to reach beyond their cultural and linguistic boundaries. Understanding the nuances of another language can lead to more empathetic and practical solutions in the global market. This perspective is invaluable in a field where precision and cultural sensitivity can directly impact patient outcomes.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

Brandon shared his recommendations for two books that have profoundly influenced his professional and personal life: “The One Thing” and “The Compound Effect.” These books, he explained, offer valuable insights into prioritizing tasks and understanding the cumulative impact of consistent habits, respectively.

Brandon’s parting message was one of unity and understanding. He encouraged listeners to embrace cultural diversity and continuous learning, emphasizing that we all share the same goals despite speaking different languages at the core.

Listen Now

Take advantage of this enriching conversation with Brandon VanArman on the Life Sciences – In Focus podcast. Whether you’re in the medical field, a software developer, or simply interested in the intersection of technology and healthcare, this episode offers valuable insights and inspiration.

The Life Sciences – In Focus podcast is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube. Tune in for more fascinating conversations with global life sciences experts, and stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the industry.

About Life Sciences – In Focus

Life Sciences – In Focus Podcast by Visatatec, a fascinating conversation with global life sciences experts. The show has multiple hosts and topics  Follow Life Sciences – In Focus on Spotify for all the latest episodes, or subscribe to the show on YouTube and Apple podcasts. Life Sciences – In Focus is available on many other podcast platforms. To learn more about the podcast, please visit

About Vistatec 

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