I am a
3 years ago I was in San Fransisco looking for a job. Well, looking for leads of people to talk to that might have interesting jobs. As a Mechanical Engineer fresh out of school, I wanted to build physical things. Things that people would use. I wanted to hack physical things, take them apart, assemble them into something useful and novel. What I found out west was lots of companies that wanted me to do one specific task for years. This does not suit my personality nor how my brain works. Luckily I found Quirky.
Quirky challenged me in ways I could never have expected and provided the high stress, fast paced, and ever changing workload I had loved so much at Georgia Tech. After 6 months I went to help test products at Wink. It was the perfect melding of interest, new technology, and lots of things I could take apart. Two moths later I was moved to Wink full time in a Systems Engineering role.
Being predominantly a software company, Wink’s product was new for me. I could make physical things and read code but writing code was intimidating. However, I quickly picked up the interactions in software and the functional paths through our product as we tested 50+ different partner products for the Wink platform. It was mentally stimulating, but I still wanted to build physical product.
Quirky went bankrupt the next year and during Wink’s acquisition process I started looking for new jobs that would push me back into the realm of building physical devices. This was a defining moment; the realization that I had stopped building. Building anything; creating something impactful. I had a year of writing specifications and learning how code worked from an external point of view but not building any of it.
After a year as a Systems Engineer, Wink offered me a new position as a Site Readability/DevOps Engineer. Run the server infrastructure. Make it stable and scale. Build tools that make life easier for moving code changes around. Take all the pieces apart, learn how they work, and put them back together again. Sounds like my type of job.
So, for the past 8 months I have been building and coding. Actually coding. Something that was not in the master plan 3 years ago. My moniker in the software realm prior to 8 months was much more along the lines of script kiddie or sys admin than Software Engineer. I have since been indoctrinated in the ways of distributed applications and infrastructure; Docker, Vagrant, and other tools for workload isolation; Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, and ECS for orchestration; Ruby, Python, and Go; 12-factor application development and software engineering theoretics. One thing I couldn’t have predicted is how much coding is an art form. We all have the same paints and can be taught how to mix them into different colors, the way we apply them to the canvas can mimic others, but it’s never without your personal fingerprint.
Physical devices and interactions are amazing but coupling it with the art of software is what makes it magic.
Given the above journey, I am now more than ever an Engineer. Hardware, software, design. I build things. I break things. I apply the theoretics garnered by scientists to the world around us to make magic happen. There are a few on-going projects that will be talked about on my blog in the coming months:
- The website will go through a re-branding to Built by Experiment rather than The Building Experiment.
- A 3D printing company I’m starting with a few others. Think custom prototypes for those who have no prototyping skills.
- A new combat robot I’m designing code named: Gimli
- Bringing Embedded and Windows application development to a continuous integration cycle closer to that of distributed web applications.
- Thoughts from my infrastructure work at Wink and on-going learnings.
Interested in the above? Let’s chat
Here we go.