Cubicles Changed My Life

Andrew Clinton
28 Aug 2014

So why I am a programmer? You may or may not care, but my story helps shed light on why being a "Quarter Stack" Developer in Columbus, Ohio is so awesome.

Starting at the beginning...I was fortunate enough to pick up an internship at ODOT during my freshman year at The Ohio State University ( I was studying Civil Engineering at the time) doing a lot of data entry in excel. It wasn't glorious but it paid the bills and I met some coworkers who would become good friends down the road. Approximately, a year later my boss John MacAdam introduced me to web development in the form of Phonegap. I had had experience in the past with programming in two languages, C++ and Matlab, and they both left me with some scars. These scars left me a little nervous at the idea of picking up programming again, but John made it look like so much fun so I decided to give it a whirl.

I found HTML and CSS far more rewarding than C++ and Matlab initially, because I could see what I was building in the browser as I threw together sloppy tables and divs and applied horrible css styles. So programming, or web development you could call it, wasn't so bad after all!? At this point it was time to start messing about in Javascript. I have never been a listening type of learner -- I learn by trial and error. This led me to creating and never finishing TONS of fiddles on jsFiddle. Building a web page out of HTML & CSS and making it interactive with javascript and jQuery was pretty awesome! Coding doesn't suck! I was falling in love with Web Development!

Now it was time to move on to Phonegap. Making the HTML, CSS, and Javascript you write, work on your phone like an App is an awesome experience, and I was hooked the moment I installed my first apk on my phone. It was all down hill from there; I worked on phonegap apps night and day every chance I could through my junior year at OSU. I even put out a few apps on the Android and iOS markets which you can check out here.

Everything was going fine and dandy through the summer of 2013 until I found out my internship was coming to a close in August. I was now at a cross roads coming into my senior year. I had been pursuing this Civil Engineering degree for a year now, but I was not really enjoying it. Even further, I got to work in an office building filled with Civil Engineers and I didn't really think what they did was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So, I made the decision and said goodbye to the all-to-familiar cubicle walls of my desk and decided to not stop there by dropping from my major and pursuing a BS in Computer Science and Engineering.

I found myself unemployed and not attending Fall Semester 2013, because I made the choice to change majors too late into the semester. At the suggestion of a friend who happened to be a CSE, I put out a few feelers to local tech companies in Columbus seeing if they were looking for a CSE intern. Tech Columbus was the only company to reply back to me. I was able to set up a meeting with Matt Pieper in October of last year where we had a good talk about all things coding and start up related. He wasn't able to offer me any positions at Tech Columbus, but he put me in touch with a local full stack developer, Patrick Pohler.

After a quick exchange of emails, Pat and I met at the Starbucks on Polaris and had a talk that would kickstart my "Quarter Stack" Developing career. Pat invited me to join the Anecka team as the intern. Since then, almost a year now, my developer skill set has vastly increased thanks to all of Pat's web jedi master knowledge he has bestowed upon me.

In addition to my already pretty extensive Phonegap experience, by working at Anecka, I picked up experience working on Ruby on Rails, Laravel, Expression Engine, and Craft projects. While Pat handles most of the backend work because I have more front end dev experience, thus the title "Quarter Stack" Developer, I hope to one day be able to call my self a Full Stack Developer like Pat.