My Passion For Computer Science

I enjoy programming and learning as much as I can about it and different aspects of it. It all began in high school when I first learned C++ in the vi text editor. It really felt like falling in love and I wanted to spend the rest of my life programming. I never stopped trying to learn everything I could about it and I am just as passionate as I was when we first met.

When I went to college I thought they were going to teach me how to program and when I walked across the stage for my diploma I would be fluent in all programming languages known to man. What they actually taught me, and I am eternally grateful for, is how to problem solve. Learning a programing language is all about learning rules and constraints. Actually programming, at its heart, is solving a problem and what tools would solve it best. I don’t want to devalue the accomplishments of my peers when I say anyone can learn to program, but to be good at it, means being excellent at problem solving. It is also the most rewarding aspect of the job.

Choosing my discipline of C# was also an act of love and serendipity. We never would have met had I not been looking for more information on programming for my XBox 360. I had so much fun experimenting with C# that when a position opened up for C# .NET developer I jumped at the opportunity and never regretted it.

Current Responsibilities

In my position as Lead Developer and Database Administrator, I am responsible for my department, and the applications my department is responsible for. With being responsible for my department, I have to manage the developer uder me on a daily basis. Making sure tasks are assigned and working together to solve issues. I also have to make sure the applications we are responsible for are being worked on and making progress. ** Talk about being a manager ** ** Talk about meeting with "product owners" ** ** Talk about balancing time between managing and coding **

As a Software Engineer with a main discipline in C# .NET, I work with a team of developers to deliver a product to our end client. We work with project managers, the sales department and Quality Assurance to develop realistic expectations and work to exceed them. I work closely with my team creating, testing and debugging the product to make sure the final product is excellent and the client is more than satisfied. It is not unusual for me to work on multiple tickets a day improving our customer’s product.

Working on multiple million dollar projects has taught me the importance of quality and how cutting corners in the beginning can lead to greater expense and challenges in the future. It has also given me much practice in maintaining client confidentiality. In my current position I architect and build websites that use the latest technologies and utilize APIs to provide the needed information. I also maintain and fix existing websites that range from old technologies (like classic ASP) to the newest. Other projects I work on include planning and building mobile applications for the various platforms, and building proof of concept ideas to show clients.

Professional History

  • 2015 - Present: Lead Programmer and Database Administrator at The University of Chicago, Public Health Sciences Department
  • 2015: Senior Consultant as Polaris Solutions
  • 2012 - 2015: Software Engineer at the Nerdery
  • 2010 - 2012: Software Engineer at KeyLimeTie
  • 2007 - 2010: Associate Developer at Edward Don & Company
  • 2003 - 2007: Attended Northern Illinois University completing a BS in Applied Computer Science

Personal Interests

Like most individuals working in the technology industry, my first true hobby was video games. The first video game I loved was Metroid, it engaged me mentally, emotionally, and capture my attention in a way little else did. I have been hooked ever since. It’s the culmination of visual art, music, literature, and science. Later in life, it became a way to make friends and create deeper bonds.

With how mentally taxing my position is I looked for something that would allow me to quiet my mind and focus on something outside myself. I discovered a love for photography. It’s peaceful and I enjoy being able to focus and one small thing and find the beauty in it. You can view pictures I have taken on My Flickr.

In 2009 I took my love of hockey to a new level and bought my first set of pads and a mask. At the time, it was just another excuse to leave the house but has turned into a way to socialize, unwind, and combat that spare tire that plagues many working in the field of computer science. It has had other benefits as well like improving my ability to work on the team. I have little say in which team I play with and have been on many different teams and encountered a great variety of people, each one coming with their own challenges and enjoyments. I also had to work on maintaining my independence and not be so caught up in the emotional highs and lows of the team so much that it impacts my ability to do my job.

Another hobby I recently fell in love with is Autocross. What it boils down to is the event organizers create a driving course using pylons and each driver attempts to race the course in the fastest possible time. Each driver usually gets four attempts and we are divided into various categories. The hobby doesn’t require a whole lot of gear, just my everyday Ford Focus, a helmet, and my signature on a legal waiver. After spending so much time troubleshooting and problem solving complex issues it’s nice to use those skills on something like the simple course and be rewarded with a healthy dose of adrenaline. You can learn more about Autocross from the SCCA website http://www.scca.com/

History of "Pancake"

Personally, I have an uncle to thank for nicknaming me Pancake. Instead of being embarrassed, I embraced in and began using it as various gamertags. I incorporated it as my Twitter account and when I started my current position my mentor discovered it and began calling me Pancake exclusively and it spread. It was a good lesson in, “What happens on the internet does not stay on the internet.” Once again, instead of being embarrassed, I have embraced the moniker which makes me memorable to management and clients. As long as I continue to perform well it works in my favor.