my work

I’m an engineer; I build fully-functional, user-friendly products and solve problems.

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HTML5 Advanced Topics by Craig Shoemaker

March 2017

HTML5 came out a few years ago and I was ignorant on what features it provided, although I had used a few of its features unknowingly. This class covered advanced topics such as: offline applications, geolocation, web storage, web workers, web sockets, and microdata.

What I loved about it: overview of these advanced topics, provided working examples of each, great introduction to discuss the capabilities built into the modern browser

Mitsubishi Pro with Morrison Agency

March 2017

My mentor, Brandon Beacher, reached out to me to help out on a couple of short-term projects. My main task was to come in and firefight the existing Angular codebase as they port over from hardcoded content to having all content being controlled in a CMS.

What I loved about it: had an opportunity to work with my mentor and Lachlan Heywood who's an awesome dev, learned more about Heroku deployments, wrote my first bash script, had my first experience with waterfall development

Lawn.com Self-Service

February 2017

The founders of Lawn.com reached out to me to help them out with a CoffeeScript/Angular/Rails project. It ended up including some work with Stripe as well.

What I loved about it: had an opportunity to work with CBQ and learn from Zac Stewart who are both awesome devs, first experience with CoffeeScript, first experience with Stripe, working on a project that will create a new point of sale

Building Applications with React and Flux by Cory House

January 2017

I had planned on doing the Building Applications with React and Redux in ES6, but at the beginning the author suggested taking the Building Applications with React and Flux course first. The course covered all the basics of React and its original state management tool Flux.

What I loved about it: gave a big-picture overview at the start to help with learning, discusses the problems that React solves with unidirectional data-flow, the virtual DOM, and components

You Don't Know JavaScript by Kyle Simpson -- six book series

August 2016

I'm a huge fan of this book series -- enough that I wanted to read through the six book series a second time.

I created lots of my own examples with correlating explanations here.

What I loved about it: deep dives into every topic, light humor, felt like I really understood almost every concept

Portfolio Page

July 2016

I wanted to make a site that represented my skills and personality better than a resume. My target audience includes CTOs of startups and devs working on challenging open-source projects.

All the design, prototyping, code, and deployment is my own. Technology used includes: Sketch, InVision, HTML, SCSS, ES6, vanilla JavaScript, and Heroku.

What I loved about it: was able to apply my design training, went through a high-velocity prototyping process to build it, everything is my own code although I truely stand on the shoulders of giants in terms of inspiration, tutorials, and feedback

Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

July 2016

In Traction, Weinberg and Mares talk about how to grow a business -- not just make a product. This is the only book I’ve read that discussed all the strategies a company can grow a business. They also discuss the Bullseye Method of finding out which traction strategies will work with you, all of which require an investment of less than one month and $1,000 to test for viability.

What I loved about it: the high-level summary, followed by action items, followed by details on how to execute those

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

June 2016

Influence goes through the six principles of persuasion that science currently knows about and has tested. Looking at a summary of the book, you’d be inclined to say, “Duh?” But the details, level of research, and valueable insights can help any sales professional or entrepreneur.

What I loved about it: the empirical evidence behind each of the influencers, how we auto-respond to so many things, and he covers how to combat it when someone is using it to manipulate us

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

June 2016

After checking Facebook for the 10th time that morning, I decided to start reading Hooked. There were a lot of valuable insights in this book, such as how many products start off as "vitamins" but become "painkillers" as a user gets more invested and how product owners must first understand the emotion that a user has before using the product to enable the use of effective triggers.

What I loved about it: clear breakdown of the complex, simple action items to make your own product habitual, discussed the ethics of creating a habit versus an addiction

Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising by Ryan Holiday

June 2016

Growth Hacker Marketing was my first book into the world of growth hacking. Before read it I thought the job title of "growth hacker" was silly -- it was just an excuse for people in marketing to use the word "hacker." I was astonished to learn that most growth hackers are programmers who focus on gaining traction through an engineer's mindset: measurable, repeatable, scalable.

What I loved about it: argued that virality is not luck and must be embedded into the product from Day 1, there were many case studies including Hotmail, Twitter, and Dropbox, was told in a way that made me want to learn more

Left Florence Healthcare

May 2016

What I learned: a ton about startups, JavaScript, AngularJS, UI/UX, recruiting, and the challenges involved in healthcare tech -- especially healthcare cloud tech

What I loved about it: being the first employee was amazingly empowering, was able to be the CEO of my job, wore many hats (head of HR, whaaat?) came in pretty green with AngularJS and JavaScript in general and was able to learn a lot and apply it immediatley, the team is passionate about healthcare tech

Reason for leaving: my wife and I decided to take a sabbatical in Thailand for 6 months, however I hope to return to Florence when we get back home

Design 101 by Designlab

April 2016

The topics covered in this course were: Visual hierarchy, Layout, Typography, and Color theory. We were assigned weekly reading and homework. All of our homework was reviewed by our assigned mentor. We also had semi-weekly sessions with them to review our work and ask questions.

What I loved about it: was able to apply it immediately to my job, my mentor was incredibly helpful and tons of experience, great introduction into design, helped me realize that design is not 100% subjective as I thought before

Functional-Lite JavaScript by Kyle Simpson

April 2016

In this course, Kyle Simpson introduces functional programming and how a light version can be applied to make our code much more resilient and have less chance of side effects.

What I loved about it: it was my first introduction to functional programming concepts, the concepts can make the code have less side effects

Component-Based Architecture in AngularJS 1.x and ES6 by Scott Moss

January 2016

In this course, Scott Moss covers what components are, the benefits of having components, and how to implement them in Angular 1.x and ES6.

What I loved about it: component-based architecture allows for extremely clean code organization and file structuring, allows code to be broken up into smaller pieces which lower cognitive overhead, introduced me to Webpack which significantly speeds up front-end development

Mastering CSS Transitions, Transforms & Animations by Claudia Romano and Sebastiano Guerriero

November 2016

In this course, the team at Cody House cover transitions, transforms, and animations. This was my first real tutorial on this, not including the simple ones I did on Codecademy when I first started in web development. It was cool to see how powerful CSS is and all that can be done with just a few lines.

What I loved about it: made my first animations, learned new terminology to help me build what I want, was able to apply the lessons in mini-projects after each lesson, learned how to do menus similar to what is on this page

You Don't Know JavaScript by Kyle Simpson -- six book series

November 2015

This book series is the bible of advanced JavaScript. Each book is packed full of new stuff. I didn't feel confident in my JavaScript abilities until after reading this series. I fully plan on re-reading it soon so I can internalize all the concepts that I missed the first time.

What I loved about it: clear examples, light humor, depth inside every topic, free

Gave a talk on refactoring at ConnectJS

October 2015

This was my first conference talk. The topic focused on the benefits of refactoring, challenging paradigms (such as "Code without tests is legacy code" and "Software development is similar to engineering"), and strategies to improve code quality.

What I loved about it: great experience, had a lot of fun doing it

Learning JavaScript Design Patterns by Andy Osmani

September 2015

This book was my first introduction into design patterns and helped me level up my JavaScript knowledge. I would like to learn more about design patterns to help me stand on the shoulders of smart people who have solved similar problems. This book did that for JavaScript patterns.

What I loved about it: content-heavy, free

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

September 2015

This book was pretty enlightening as to what makes great companies. The concept is similar to a blue ocean strategy of picking something that has no competitors, but this book talks about making something that didn't exist before. The thing that replaces Google won't be another search engine, it will be something that makes search engines obsolete -- or a product that creates something out of nothing

What I loved about it: focused on creating the future, inspiring

JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford

July 2015

This book was a nice refresher for me on some intricacies of JavaScript and why some of things seen as quirks in JS are actually quite powerful (such as the "this" object).

What I loved about it: good introduction to the quirks of JavaScript

ng-book: The Complete Book on AngularJS

June 2015

This book covers everything for Angular, sometimes to a fault. 400+ pages of in-depth material of the inner workings of AngularJS and how it all comes together.

What I loved about it: incredibly in-depth, covered everything for AngularJS

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

May 2015

This book is incredibly helpful in making friends and handling office politics. Since reading this, I've focused on remembering people's names and have learned to keep asking genuine questions about a person's life. These two steps alone have helped me make more friends. The one thing that helped me at work was the strategy of putting what you want in terms of benefits for whoever it is you need to convince.

What I loved about it: real-world examples, action items to apply in your day-to-day life, uses the word "whippersnappers"

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

April 2015

This book has a pretty fascinating hypothesis: starting with why, then discussing how, then discussing what is much more powerful than the reverse. In my life, I've tried starting with why and it has helped me pick up good habits and drop bad ones. It's also helped me when I was in charge of hiring at Florence Healthcare -- I was always curious to see why candidates wanted to be developers and why they wanted to work at Florence. Good answers to these questions was always a strong sign of someone's commitment.

What I loved about it: real-world case studies, helped me change habits, applicable to hiring

Lead Front-End Developer at Florence Healthcare

April 2015

Job responsibilities: lead software development for the front-end, advance the UI/UX and front-end functionality, create an AngularJS from scratch, lead developer hiring efforts

Why I was excited for this opportunity: my first JavaScript-focused role, able to build an application from scratch using a new front-end framework, first employee at a tech startup, get to wear many hats and thus no boring days, could get emotionally invested in building something that would help find cures

Left General Assembly

April 2015

What I learned: reinforced my learning with Rails, intermediate JavaScript, beginner Angular

What I loved about it: teaching, the students who were passionate about programming and building amazing things, saying "Just build it" to my student's questions when I knew they were close to figuring it out on their own, learned AngularJS on the job

Reason for leaving: I was ready to get back out into the wild to continue learning the craft of web development. I hope to return to General Assembly in a couple of years after getting some more experience in the real world.

Lead Developer for Bubble

April 2015

This hackathon project focused on creating a real-time tool for instructors and students. The problem to be solved was that students will often feel too timid to ask questions or do not want to appear stupid by asking the instructor to slow down. Also, instructors have a hard time pushing quizzes out in the middle of a lesson to gauge the current level of understanding.

What I loved about it: first real project with Firebase, everyone on the hackathon team were all smart

Lead Developer for MiddleOf.Us

January 2015

MiddleOf.Us solves the problem of finding free wifi in the middle of two places. It is perfect for people who want to meet up and study or work on homework/projects that require the internet.

This was my first time as Lead Developer for a project whose main focus is not Ruby on Rails. Although built with a Rails backend, MiddleOf.Us is more front-end focused with AngularJS.

What I loved about it: first time building an app with AngularJS, lead a team of three (not including myself), have had a lot of people tell me that it's useful

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

January 2015

This was my first book into tech entrepreneurship. It was really cool to learn about how companies quickly focus on validating an idea, track data and figure out what customers really want, and pivot until product-market fit (PMF) is reached.

What I loved about it: focused on being flexible and using data to drive decisions, applied lean and agile mentalities to business creation

Sublime Text Power User by Wes Bos

December 2014

This book showed every shortcut and plugin to become a Sublime Text power user. This book alone has saved me hundreds of hours.

What I loved about it: very low time to break even on the time it took to read it, significantly increased my development velocity

Web Development Instructor at General Assembly

September 2014

Job responsibilities: prepare and run lessons focusing on Ruby on Rails, help students with projects, mentor students before and after graduation

Why I was excited for this opportunity: it was just out of my comfort zone to be teaching so I had to work extra hard to be prepared, was always fond of teaching

Lead Developer of VVV Academy

September 2014

The Startup Weekend: Education hackathon focused on projects to increase education. Working with three other developers, we were able to turn an idea into a visual MVP in four hours and win 3rd place.

What I loved about it: the idea wasn't fleshed out enough to start coding until about three hours to go and we were still able to pull off 3rd place

Left RotorCommerce

August 2014

What I learned: a ton about startups, rapid prototyping, e-commerce

What I loved about it: being the first employee was amazingly empowering, challenged the CEO on business assumptions, every day was exciting and often required a pivot

Reason for leaving: after pivoting and doing more research, we were unable to reach product-market fit and decided to close shop

Software Engineering Contractor at RotorCommerce

June 2014

Job responsibilities: create mockups and MVPs, challenge CEO on business assumptions

Why I was excited for this opportunity: I had never been the first employee at a startup before, the CEO was extremely knowledgeable and had a successful exit at his previous company

Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby by Sandi Metz

June 2014

My favorite programming book, Sandi Metz clearly articulates the power of object-oriented thinking (nouns and verbs instead of events) and how it can be used to make code not only easier to read, but much more flexible.

Because the Agile process only assumes knowledge for the length of the sprint (typically two weeks or less), flexibility is the most important aspect. She covers the minute such as using a hash of arguments to the overview of smart ERDs and duck-typing.

What I loved about it: focused on writing code that can evolve over time, examples were clear and easy to understand

Founder of Happs

May 2014

My flagship Rails project, I wanted to combine the findings of positive psychology (the science of what makes people happy) with technology. Happs (Happy + Apps) enables you to make yourself happier in three ways: tracks your happiness over time, determines what activities will make you the happiest, and guides you through those activities.

What I loved about it: full test coverage, first time using AJAX, set up my first SSL certificate (expired now), bought my first domain, the app is actually incredibly useful if you want to quantify and improve your happiness

Eloquent Ruby by Russ Olsen

April 2014

Eloquent Ruby starts off where intro to Ruby books end. Its focus is to write code for the next person, living by the mantra "Always code as if the person who ends up maintaining your code is a violent psychopath who knows where you live." It covers a wide range of Ruby concepts well, however it assumes a decent amount of programming experience from the reader.

What I loved about it: dove deep into Ruby concepts

Left Rigor

April 2014

What I learned: Agile development, testing, refactoring

What I loved about it: it was my first startup job and it happened to be at the most innovative company in Georgia, got to work under two senior developers

Reason for leaving: scope of work was completed and the contract was done

Software Engineering Contractor at Rigor

January 2014

Job responsibilities: refactor spaghetti code, improve the free tools

Why I was excited for this opportunity: it was my first job at a startup and my first since my career change into web development

Started pursuing web development full-time

May 2013

One year before my wedding my (then) fiancee and I agreed that I needed a change and web development just made sense. Those two events are easily the best decisions I've made in my life. :)

What I loved about it: challenging career path, high demand for developers, increased flexibility on working location

Account Manager, Leadership Development Program Gradudate at Siemens

July 2009 - May 2013

Job responsibilities: project management, business development, sales and marketing, customer relations management, process improvement

Why I was excited for this opportunity: it was my first job out of school and the Leadership Development Program's goal was to take high-potential candidate and groom them for management roles, was able to land a position where I was the youngest by 15+ years

What I learned: general business concepts, expectation management, project management, process improvement, general professional skills

What I loved about it: it was exciting to get a new position every six months for the first two years, got to travel on lots of customer visits

Reason for leaving: I wasn't challenged any more, the culture of a large corporation was the antithesis of what I was looking for

B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering from West Virginia University

May 2009

Graduated Magna Cum Laude, President of the engineering honor society, First project lead for WVU's chapter of Engineers Without Borders

What I loved about it: ever since I was three years old I wanted to be an aerospace engineer (true story), was able to use what I learned to make a real distance in people's lives, challenging concepts helped me learn how to think logically