Becoming a Full Time Developer2022-06-01
Becoming a Full Time Developer
I have been turning every job that I ever had into a software development job. Out of high school I worked at a machine shop. I quickly learned how to write G-Code. Within a few years I became the night shift supervisor because I was the best able to deal the issues that can come up at any time. After working for many years I really wanted to transition to a day job... Nobody wants to work nights forever.
My next position was as an estimator for a plumbing and heating company. I spent time there optimizing the problem and used Excel and the embedded programming language: Visual Basic for Applications to create a system that would allow me to estimate a job in a fraction of the time that it would take anyone else. I was able to do this because I was able to automate the process of looking up the cost of materials and optimizing quantities by analyzing the data from previous jobs. I also automated our pricing and purchase planning by using web scraping to pull data from our suppliers websites and generating ordering guides for the purchasing department. After years of automating my job, as well as many others I became bored with my workday.
My next adventure was teaching. I became an 8-th grade math teacher to share my love of logic and learning. Once I started at a school I very quickly realized that schools are underfunded and very lacking in the IT & tech area. Within months I because the defacto IT person for the school. Because everyone used Google Sheets for basically everything to run the school I started to use Google Apps Script to automate many of the tasks that everyone did regularly in the school.
The other big problem with the school community is the number of different applications and websites that everyone is responsible for monitoring regularly. I started out by automating tasks, but quickly realized that the best solution was a complete redesign of everyone's interaction with school technology. I created a school dashboard program to consolidate many of the disparate tasks that everyone does. By consolidating I was able to create bespoke dashboards for every member of the school to see exactly the information that they needed at any given time. I was also able to create a system that would allow me to push information to the users instead of them having to go out and find it. This was a huge time saver for everyone involved.
This became an all encompassing extra job that grew and grew until I spent more time on it than my actual job of teaching math.
That is one of the things that led me into looking for a career outside of education. I was sacrificing my time outside of school to create software to improve everyone's education experience... but I was not being compensated for it. I started looking for a job in the software industry. I was lucky enough to find a job at Stardog as a software engineer. I am now able to spend my time creating software that has some incredible benefits to data and knowledge management. I am able to use my skills to help people and companies to better understand their data and to make better decisions based on that data. I can't wait to see what the future holds for me and my career, and learn as much as I can along the way. I have spent every job that I have ever had turning it into a software development job, and now I am excited to see what it is like using my skills as a focus instead of a side project.
Post by: Rob Boskind
Former Math Teacher
Father of all Girls