About Me

Backstory

I was in the finance industry for 13 years, specifically in real estate finance and servicing. I got my first job out of college in this industry and stayed with the same company for the entire time. I enjoyed the work and especially the people I worked with, but over the last several years I found myself especially enjoying creating Excel templates for my group and automating tasks in VBA. That quickly became my favorite part of my job (although it was far from my primary responsibilities) and I sought out projects to create templates to automate manual tasks and save time for my group.

I love being able to take something that’s structured and logical and using it to express my creativity and solve problems!

Programming History

I’ve taken a few online courses years ago on HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I enjoyed them but I didn’t feel like I was truly learning the material… just following along with the examples. I dabbled in programming here and there over the years as my interest remained. In fact, my interest in programming grew to the point where I decided that I would not let my previous attempts to learn stop me! I wanted that feeling I had periodically in my job of being able to create something and solve problems with code!

With my new found determination to learn programming I decided to switch careers and become a software engineer, but how? I wanted to learn at my own pace and also have short feedback loops on what I was learning to gauge my progress and understanding. I also wanted to not only ask questions of the instructors, but also fellow students learning with me. That type of interactivity was important to me if I was going to make the jump from a hobbyist to a full-time software engineer. After researching several options I decided to apply to the Full Stack Web Development program at Flatiron School. I completed their prep course, applied to the program and was accepted!

The Full Stack Web Development program focuses on both back-end and front-end technologies. The program covers fundamental languages and concepts (HTML, CSS, and object oriented programming), Ruby, JavaScript, web frameworks (Sinatra, Ruby on Rails) and front-end frameworks (React and Redux).

I’m also supplementing the program with other online courses and books.

What I’m Currently Working On

After finishing my 3rd project I volunteered to be a Teaching Assistant at RailsBridge Charlotte and help teach Ruby on Rails to men and women interested in modern Web Development. I highly recommend attending if you are interested in learning Ruby on Rails! The workshops are a fun (and free!) way to get started with Ruby on Rails and are intended to increase diversity in tech. If you are interested in attending or volunteering, you can learn more at RailsBridge.org.

I found out about an open Ruby on Rails developer position from one of the other volunteers and applied for it. After a couple of interviews and coding challenge I was offered the position; I couldn’t believe it! I’ll never forget September 4, 2018; the day I was offered a position as a Ruby on Rails developer at QuintEvents and finished my career transition! At this point I was not finished with my bootcamp and the coding challenge was difficult (I should write a blog post about it) but having a few months of experience under my belt it simulated a typical day as a developer.

I took a few months off from my bootcamp to focus on getting up to speed as quickly as possible at QuintEvents. It was intense (like drinking from a firehose!) but I’ve learned a lot and love being a developer! I’m extremely glad I made the career switch!

I jumped back into the bootcamp and into my 4th project on January 1, 2019. I am looking forward to completing this project soon and applying what I’ve learned about JavaScript and APIs to make the app my dynamic and engaging!

Projects

Shelter Gifts App

App Link: Shelter Gifts

Shelter Gifts makes it easy to donate directly to homeless shelters across the country by aggregating a list of items they need. The list of items come from directly from the individual shelters! The list is curated by the shelters for the communities they serve. The shelters create an Amazon Wishlist of items they need.

Shelters can register for an account on Shelter Gifts and save a link to their wishlist, then the wishlist items are automatically added to the Shelter Gifts collection!

The app displays the collection if items needed by all of the shelters on the homepage, where visitors can view info about each item and purchase directly from Amazon and have the items shipped to the shelter in need!

You can read more about my approach to developing it here.

Developer Journal Sinatra App

App Link: Developer Journal

I built my second project, a Sinatra application, to solve a specific problem that I had (and something that other developers may have). Since I’ve been in the Full Stack Web Developer program, I’ve wanted to keep track of what I’ve been learning, see my learning/coding “streaks” and set goals for myself. I’ve used a combination of DayOne for journaling, Quiver for organizing my notes and different iOS apps for goal tracking. Individually, these apps worked for their specific purposes, but together they were too cumbersome for what I wanted; so I decided to make an app with the features I was looking for.

You can read more about my Journal for Developers approach to developing it here.


Developer News CLI App

sample code from the Developer News CLI App
My first project was a Command Line Interface (CLI) application to quickly scrape article data from some of the technology-focused websites that I visit and aggregate them. You can read more about the project and my problem solving approach here.

Interests

Outside of programming, I love spending time with my wife Senta and two boys, Anthony (4) and Landon (2). Whether it’s going to dinner and a movie or exploring fun things to do as a family in and around Charlotte.

I’m also a big fan of the following shows (in no particular order): The Walking Dead, Billions, Westworld, Homeland and Mr. Robot.

If you’d like to know more about me, feel free to drop me a line; I’d love to chat!