TL;DR -> I care about timeless design—both asthetic and functional, and draft positive and engaging user experiences.
I’ve been designing, building, and maintaining web and mobile applications for over a decade and am considered an expert in UI development as well as API design and development. I’m product-focused and have a deep understanding of how to build applications that achieve goals set out for them. Before building applications I was a website and graphics designer who moonlighted as a programmer.
Like a lot of developers, I started by designing and building websites ages ago using Photoshop and Dreamweaver. I didn’t go to school for design or engineering and honestly didn’t think I’d be doing it for very long. I fell into project after project because people needed help with their websites and I was kind of good at it. I learned new skills and technologies only as needed. It was the lazy approach.
My niche in the web design industry was that I designed and programmed everything from scratch when a lot of other people were using templates. Initially, I built static HTML sites with minimal CSS and JS, and slowly learned how to build my own templates using Wordpress and PHP. If a client wanted something, I usually said yes and learned how to do it. I learned complex interactions, styling, form submissions, and how to build plugins.
The more I learned, the more people wanted to me to do weird shit. For example, while living in Denver, I learned how to write ActionScript and use Flash just to make epic spash screens. Remember those? I also built an interactive video player where people could purchase products right inside the videos they were watching–an interesting concept that still hasn’t seen the light of day.
In early 2012 I moved to Oakland and got work in the tech industry. My first job in SF was at a backup and recovery company called eVault as the “Web Manager”. I worked on the website a little bit but spent most of my time in meetings planning projects and negotiating with other team leads. I really missed being hands-on and making things. Even though I really liked my teammates, I didn’t enjoy the work.
At the time, I had pretty good design skills and decent programming skills and was conflicted about choosing a discipline going forward. Ultimately, I chose programming because I wanted to learn more about how computers work, which led to a junior web developer job at WalmartLabs. That’s where things really started to come together for me.
While at Walmart my core responsibilities were building HTML/CSS/JS modules for walmart.com, which were mostly fancy banner ads, product carousels, and special promotional pages. In my spare time designed and built web and desktop apps for the creative, site merchandising, and marketing departments. It was a lot of fun and super challenging. It was like running a little business inside Walmart. After a while I didn’t have to build modules for the website because I built an app that let merchants build their own modules without having to write code. I also built another cool app that helped speed up the image resizing process for product images.
After working there for a couple years, I decided to get a job at a more ambitious and scrappy company so I could focus entirely on app development and hone my skills by learning from some super ninja developers. I landed a job as a “Software Craftsman”–a fitting title, with a company out of Toronto called Influitive. They had a satellite office in SF and because of my entrepreneurial-_ish_ background I got to work on the Moonshots team, which was like a little startup inside the main company. The five of us conceptualized, designed, and built a new content creation and distribution plaform called Upshot Stories. You can check it out the landing page and read some stories but it’ll cost you some serious $$$ to actually see the app.
For the past few years I’ve been working remotely and semi-remotely as a freelance developer in Sonoma County, Petaluma, and San Francisco, California. I’ve been a prototyper, maintainer, pinch hitter, architect, and leader. I’ve designed a few things and built many things. I still have so much to learn about software engineering and spend a good chunk of time studying computer science, programming, and mathematics. It’s a never ending, bottomless, and sometimes stinky pit of learning and I think that’s why I like it so much.