It's been a long while since I shared my progress with everyone. Here's a quick catch-up on what I've done, what I'm doing now, and where I hope to go.
My wife and I made an agreement a few years ago that 2015 would be a "year of change" for us, and it absolutely didn't let us down.
After leaving the Iron Yard, I started almost immediately with Enveritas Group, a marketing firm in Greenville, as a web application developer. EVG was a great place to work: the team was welcoming, the challenges were myriad, and the mentorship was plentiful. Having lots of programming experience but little/no practical business experience meant I spent as much time learning about client needs and contract negotiation as I did about Rails in production. I felt very much at home there.
I stayed in touch with The Iron Yard after graduation, and about halfway through the year an idea was floated to me about working with the company's instructor team. They were struggling to provide adequate coverage when instructors needed a day off, and my name had been brought up as someone who could potentially help occasionally cover classes. I jumped at the chance to be in a classroom & working directly with students, and in late 2015 I left EVG to join the team at The Iron Yard's corporate offices in Greenville.
TIY is a fairly large company, but in many ways still operates like a startup - things move fast and everyone on the team wears many hats. My initial job title was "Instructor Operations" (we never formulated a more individual-centric title, so I proudly kept the organizational designation instead!) and I went through the usual instructor onboarding pipeline. I was fortunate to spend a lot of time working with numerous teachers & teams and I spent a lot of time reading about pedagogy and classroom approaches. When I wasn't working directly with instructors, I was tapped to write some self-guided content to be used across campuses. With the help of some other free instructors, we put together a pretty good "Intro to HTML & CSS" course.
First, a step back. When I started at TIY, the office space was in a bit of flux, and since I was the only person doing what I came on for, I got put in the first space that had an open desk - the "Product" room. TIY's CTO and a few other folks had started working on some internal tooling for the company and had taken over half of a large office as their space. Even though I wasn't part of the dev team for that product at the time, I was working alongside them daily, and occasionally got to grab an issue or answer code questions from the developers.
In early 2016 the development team had really ramped up while the instructor team had mostly stabilized. The company's CTO formally asked me about switching to the development team, and shortly after the New Year I joined the team as a Product Engineer. By this time it was mostly just a title change - I'd been spending more of my time working on development needs, and they wanted me fully available and not at risk of being pulled back to another team. I've been part of the Product team since that time, though my bridge to the instructors & operations team means I still spend a good portion of my time on communication & support needs, instead of living solely in a code editor.
2016 was a big year for me personally as well. We moved to Greenville, which let me become substantially more active in the tech scene here. I've joined a few local meetups, both as a speaker and attendee, and gotten to know tons of great folks from the various firms that keep Greenville online. Working with The Iron Yard has put me close to a number of local startups, which provide a really fun atmosphere to learn in. I also had the opportunity to mentor some new coders as part of a community programming course: SC Codes. I'll definitely talk that up more in a future post.
That brings us here - I'm currently a Product Engineer with The Iron Yard, living not too far from downtown Greenville, hacking day & night and in a generally good, stable position. TIY's going through some exciting change at the moment and I'm excited to be working on cool stuff that helping people change their lives.
I've got one major goal for myself this year:
(Re)Build my online presence
I worked hard to have a solid body of work and social presence on the Internet during 2014/2015, but that's fallen off as I've devoted my time each day to work projects instead of personal ones. I'm focusing this year on fixing that - with this blog, with open source contributions, with more talks at meetups and participation in online communities and just in general being more accessible. It's important to me to give back to the amazing groups that have helped me get where I'm at, and I have no real excuse for not doing so up to this point.
I'm excited for the opportunities before me, and I hope you'll stick around (and keep me honest!) as I get to share them. Thanks for catching up with me!