In 1999 I transitioned out of a brief post-college career in the duel part-time jobs of personal training and church music directing and into computing and technology. I started as a trainee, then as a trainer, in a medium-sized enterprise middleware software company. It was a transformational opportunity in my life and I have the person who offered me the opportunity and mentored me for those first few years, Neil Crane, to thank for changing my professional life forever. (We met at the church where I was leading music, and this would not be the only time my music endeavors led directly to opportunities that enhanced my technology career.)
I survived the first throes of the dot-com bust, which reached its tentacles into all areas of technology, even enterprise middleware. About the time I was finally let go from that company, I was getting much more into web technologies, and landed a series of freelance gigs building sites in ColdFusion and PHP. These “dark ages” for the web were actually a bright spot for me, as I learned about all things web in a relatively low-pressure environment. I started blogging, got heavily into XML due to my experience with it during my enterprise software days and its relevance in things like RSS and OWL…I even built my own CMS (as you do) using a custom flat-file XML storage format (used at the time to publish this very blog–the technological history of this blog is another interesting story suitable for a separate post).
I was responsible for choosing and implementing a new front-end framework and unfortunately, I chose Flex…
Queue additional personal difficulties in my own life, and business difficulties for the startup, and I landed again in the place I was most comfortable: founding (or in this case, co-founding) a technology-based company. This was the spring of 2011, and Backbone had just come out the previous fall. We worked on a number of small projects for big companies and Backbone was just the lightweight framework we needed for those jobs.
More business challenges precipitated my departure from that startup and I began looking for new freelance opportunities. My very first such opportunity was with Modern Message. Freelance quickly turned into full-time and I have been here for the last 6.5 years. We built the post-MVP version of our application in Backbone. We’ve now completed most of a re-write in React. It has been the perfect environment for me to exercise the experience of my varied background. I’ve coded, hired, managed, and led a team that has grown from just me to 17 in engineering and from 3 to 59 company-wide.