About me

Work, Life, Tabs Versus Spaces, Et Cetera.

How did you get here?

I am the type of person who gets the same satisfaction from building IKEA furniture as they once did building LEGO kits. If I had to define myself simply, I would say that I like building things and fixing stuff. Always have. Software engineering happens to be a fantastic way to get paid to do that! This took me some time to figure out, however. I probably wrote my first line of (horrible, no good, very bad) Java code around age 22.

Before earning a degree in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh and launching myself into a software career, I studied sustainability and political science at Dickinson College. That led to working on an organic farm, serving as a sustainability fellow with the Student Conservation Association, and later joining Construction Junction in their mission to keep building materials out of landfills. In my senior year, I used geospatial analysis tools for problems like predicting wildfires, calculating the best spot in town to start a new bar, and using zoning data to illustrate the transformation of farmland into warehouses in Pennsylvania. This was the lightbulb that first drew my attention to software as a tool that could “build things and fix stuff”.

After completing my first degree, I starting teaching myself Java via CodingBat, read John MacCormick’s book on algorithms, watched The Imitation Game, and generally geeked out about the potential of applying computer science to conservation. Eventually this hobby would turn into a career path and I began C.S. night classes at Pitt, partially on a scholarship awarded by AmeriCorps for my work in the Student Conservation Association. After a year or so of this, I got tired of trying to stay awake for my algorithms lectures at 8 p.m. and decided to quit my job to pursue classes during the daytime. Someday I’ll write a blog post about choosing between a second bachelor’s / master’s / code bootcamp, but the short version is that it came to down to wanting a solid computer science foundation, in a reasonable amount of time, and as someone without a solid academic background in the sciences.

As a capstone to my education, I worked at PNC numo as an intern and contractor developing backend distributed systems, deploying a test pipeline for a backend API, and building a test framework for indi, a mobile banking app. I’m excited to see the product take off and it was a privilege to work with everyone there. Check it out!

What do you do besides work?

I really do love coding. It’s a hobby that turned into a job. But when I’m not coding, I enjoy making music (guitar / bass / synthesizer), cooking, and hiking around Boston.

Tabs or spaces?