Who am I, you ask? My primary identity online is that of a developer. The love of technology has been with me for a long time. Ever since my teacher wheeled that first Apple IIe computer into my 2nd grade classroom and let each of her wide-eyed students poke at the keyboard for a minute or two, I’ve been completely hooked. From that moment on, if I had a choice, I was glued to any screen I could find. I started off programming with BASIC a few years later, and I’ve never looked back.
I majored in Computer Engineering at Iowa State University, where I learned that one programming language is pretty much like any other. We used Scheme, C, C++, and Ada in class and they each had their own charms. But, outside of class, this thing called “the internet” was just starting to take off, so after the books were put away, it was time to play with HTML.
After college, I worked as the sole IT resource for a medium-sized construction company. I converted a custom DOS-based billing system written in qbasic into Windows using Microsoft Visual Basic 4 and 6. Desktop support, network support, and data management also played big roles in that job. When you are the only person with in-depth computer knowledge working for a non-technical company you get a wide variety of work. After that, I did a small stint at a small internet start up company called Chegg that used Microsoft .NET (C#), and then shortly after that I moved onto Planet Discover, a company using open source Linux technologies. I found myself in management after a year of working there, and as the number of programmers working for me grew, my time for programming dwindled.
And that brings us to the present. I now work for SourceMedia, a company in the mid-west United States, where I develop software and manage a team of developers. Our flagship sites are KCRG.com and TheGazette.com, but we have numerous others as well. We use a wide range of technologies including Oracle, .NET, and PHP; however my weapon of choice at the moment is Ruby on Rails. Of course, I’m sure that is likely to change again in the not-so-distant future. If I have learned one lesson so far in my career, it’s that technology is constantly changing. There’s always something new around the corner, and I can’t wait to find out what that will be.