Getting Started

As I embark on the adventure of blogging once again (yes, I’ve tried this a few times) I can’t help but feel nostalgic about posts I’ve made in the past. But as I consider posting I don’t think I want to start with a bunch links to old blog posts, I’ll save those for a time when I’m running low on time.

So instead I want to give a brief overview of my career thus far so there can be some background for where my opinions come from.

I started developing software for money when I was in high school. My family is very entrepreneurial so there were plenty of opportunities for me to help. My first project was helping my cousin, Nate Beck, with a few Flash and PHP clients. From there I took on building a few projects on my own from scratch. Both of these were custom PHP applications and I still avoided JavaScript for anything beyond basic input validation / formatting.

After high school I started my college career at NAU where I worked in the school’s IT department, and learned that I really preferred programming. I took a break after my first year in college to go on a mission for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. After that I returned to NAU for another semester and then my career began to change.

I moved from Flagstaff, AZ to Tempe, AZ which necessitated a change in jobs, and this time I found a small Web Development shop, called AZ Pixels, to work at. This is where I began to learn about JavaScript, and some of the dangers of PHP. This is also a place where I learned a lot about the importance of a good development workflow.

After working at AZ Pixels for a year and a half I moved on to a job doing a staff augmentation contract for Kodak Gallery. This was my first job where JavaScript was my primary language. Up to this point I had been doing web development, but it had been primarily PHP with a bit of JavaScript sprinkled in. When I moved to Kodak Gallery I focused soley on JavaScript and front-end development.

During the time I was at AZ Pixels and Kodak Gallery I was still working closely with Nate and helping out on projects from time to time. This work drifted further and further into the realm of Flash and Flex development, and was a nice counter point to the strong JavaScript experience I was getting at Kodak Gallery. During this time I spoke at a couple 360 Flex conferences and made my first few real open source contributions.

After I graduated I wanted to try a change of pace so I moved to Seattle and worked for Microsoft. I was only there for a short time, but in that time I dove into C# and SilverLight. While the platform was already in its death throws at the time it was great to gain exposure to yet another technology for delivering solid interactive experiences on the web.

Next I tried another big corporation and worked for Amazon Web Services working with JavaScript again starting to define their new generation of web consoles. When I first arrived on my team they had just begun porting their old console to GWT so I got to have exposure to another front-end web technology. After finishing that console we decided to write the next conosle in a native JavaScript framework, and decided to use AngularJS. We liked Angular so much that we decided to rewrite our GWT console in Angular.

After a year and a half at AWS life brought me to New York City where I found a job at a great personal investment startup named Betterment. Betterment was a great place to work, and they had a great native JavaScript application using Backbone and Marrionette. I was able to learn quite a bit about those technologies and the feel of working at a small company.

After less than a year life brought me back to Seattle where I’ve found a job at another great startup that does wire level analytics called ExtraHop. ExtraHop has some products that are currently being migrated from Flex to AngularJS as well as a diverse set of web properties. We’ll have to see where things go with ExtraHop.