I’m the newest member of the dev team working primarily in Ember.js. Although, I love working as an engineer, this wasn’t always my career path and it was a somewhat long journey to get to where I am today here at Wombat.

Beginning

I’ve always been interest in art, technology and problem solving from a young age. As a kid, I wanted to be a cartoonist and loved drawing. I think the first pieces of tech that I owned were my original Game Boy and Nintendo Entertainment System, plus one of my favorite video games will always be the Legend of Zelda series because of all the different puzzles you have to solve. While I always enjoyed playing with tech, I wasn’t exposed to the creation side of it, hardware or software, until much later in life. I think it all came together in the end though, where I was able to get into a career where I can be creative with my art side and solve problems that satisfy my puzzle solving side.

Choosing a career path

I went to Penn State University at University Park, where I got my B.A. in Print Journalism and a minor in English. While at PSU, I first explored graphic design and tried a bunch of different majors including Biology and Political Science, but settled on Journalism since I wasn’t sure what else to do with my life and I knew I needed to pick a major. I was involved in yearbook and newspaper in high school so I stuck with it. In my major you had to pick a minor and I was looking into IST (Information Sciences and Technology), but ultimately didn’t pursue it.

After college, I spent a few years working as a reporter. I lived in Beijing, China, working at the China Daily for a few months and worked for two small newspapers in Northeast Pennsylvania. I also did some tech blogging and product reviews for a few online publications called Akihabara News and Android Guys.

Introduction to development

Around 2012 I got reintroduced to the IST program when covering a story at the local campus, which is when I also had first foray into programming. The coordinator of IST at Penn State Schuylkill, who knew I wasn’t satisfied in my job, gave me a Python book and told me to go home and try some simple programs then if I enjoyed it, come back and we’ll talk.

In the summer of 2013, I re-enrolled at Penn State and took classes while working full-time. My classes included learning some programming in C++, Java, PHP, etc, among numerous other topics like networking, database design and UX design. I took classes for a year until I was looking for some adventure and moved to Boulder, Colorado, with my girlfriend. There I learned about the Turing School of Software and Design after attending a Ruby meetup. I applied, got accepted and the rest was history.

From Turing I learned not only programming languages like Ruby and JavaScript, but also learned how to learn and be able to teach myself new things, which I hadn’t been able to do previously. In my PSU coding classes since I wasn’t coding all day, everyday, like at Turing, I never felt I was able to come up with an idea and just build something like an app to help locate nearby burrito restaurants. Turing gave me that, which helped me get my first job working for a small software consultancy in Boulder. Since graduating, I’ve gotten to work in numerous projects in industries such as telecommunications, medical, retail and crafting, in many different languages and frameworks, such as C#, PHP, ColdFusion, Ruby on Rails, Angular.js, Backbone.js and of course, Ember.

Today

Currently, I live in St. Petersburg, FL, with my fiancée and our dog, Ember (yes, that’s his real name), so I work with my team remotely. Additionally, I really enjoy sharing my coding knowledge, so you can sometimes find me giving talks at meetups (I’m giving one at the Denver Ember meetup in the banner image). I’m also teaching an intro to JS class for kids this summer at The Iron Yard, our local code school in St. Pete.

I couldn’t be more excited to have joined the team at Wombat. It seems like a place where I can continue to grow my skills as a developer, while solving interesting and challenging problems. I look forward to sharing some technical blog posts in the future and contributing all that I can to the team here at Wombat!