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My 2 Year Anniversary

21. January 2009 03:36 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (11)

Today is my two year anniversary at my job.  I haven't been congratulated, appreciated or even thanked for the work I have done with my company.  (Was congratulated the day after with cup cakes and a card...) I guess you have to speak up and let people know what is going on before it happens.  I have learned a lot at my job and have taken very little to do so.  These days that go by feel tiring and sad.  I am in a supporting role now after I built an application from the ground up.  The SQL database, the documentation and the code.  I came out of college knowing very little about databases and even less about coding.  I develop in ASP.NET and C# which I had to learn from the start with this job.  I have barely had a lick of C or C++.  I was a computer Engineer, yet this job took me in to build a web app for the customer.  The project was built by me and it is my little baby.  Now I am in a supporting role in a team of 4 which I am the only one working in .NET while my other co-workers work in coldfusion.  My job was interesting when I first started building the application, learning things for the first time.  Now most of my time is spent experimenting with new technologies and research (cough, cough surfing) the internet in search for more.  Trying to learn new things and doing my damnedest to learn more of C#.  I have a firm grasp on the easy parts of C#, I just started using classes about a year ago and have figured out methods and code reuse when I was just starting out.  I remember the day I figured it out.  I must have deleted 1000's of lines of code.  It was nice.  It was a good day. I am just now picking up expressions and actually have my own personaly framework sitting at home.  I have a vast collection of extensions, methods and classes that I have written 90% my self.  I love the term "code reuse".  I used my framework in every application I make and it sure does come in handy when I want to do something really fast without having to re-invent the wheel. Having your own framework makes life a lot easier when you want to shell out code fast for a customer that you have already used before.

I remember my co-worker first pointing me to CodingHorror and I was just flabbergasted.  There were people out there who had way more experience than I.  It was an entire community.  I was so impressed. I wanted to join it, and be apart of it.  I talked to my boss about attending my first conference Dev-Connections where I again was so impressed.  I loved it.  I got to talk with some of the most appealing ASP.NET guru's.  I learned a lot from that conference and now I want to go back as a public speaker.  I went to see how to do it finding that I needed to submit a few ideas about what to present.  I missed the deadline the first time by a few days and the second time by 2 months.  I have signed up to the list to know when they decide to ask for speakers and one day I will be a presenter.  I have been known to be a great speaker in my time and can present upon a subject well.  I just stink sometimes at writing about it.  Thats why I started a blog a bit before DevConnections. I wanted to write better and be able to put my thoughts down on paper.  So now on the spare time I have I write a blog post or two.  I enjoy blogging and hopefully one day I will become a .NET MVP.  That day will be here before I know it hopefully.

I built my own bug tracker for my application and I usually get one or two fixes a day I get to work on.  By 12:00 Noon, I have my work down for the day and need to find another 6 hours to use up.  After I came back to the job from DevConnections, I presented my boss with an ideal for an admin assistant program.  They couldn't give me funding so they told me to work on it on my off time.  I haven't truly touched it in about 6 months.  I find my self getting bored way to fast with nothing to do.  I have told my boss during my meetings with him that I have nothing to do and he told me to present the customer with this and see what he says.  

After two years, I have tried to move up the latter a bit, but since I am located in Melbourne, Fl it is hard to find another programming job around the area.  I am here and can't move because the woman I love is going to school.  I have been called by Microsoft a couple of times to come interview, but sadly and respectfully decline not wanting to waste their time because I wasn't able to move.

After two years, I enjoy my time because I get a lot of free time with little to no dead lines, but it does get boring.  I wish I could find a better job in my area, but don't see that happening any time soon.  I am trying my hardest to build applications during my off time at home and have been decently successful.  As you can see from my Profile, I have done a bit and am still working on DrinkingFor.  I hope to have that finished in the next month and be working on another few ideas I have very soon.  Time will only tell how far I get.

I got this job straight out of college and I feel it is time to move on, hopefully to one of my Startups but I could be happy with another company for now. The future is bright with my startups, hopefully I get to work from home by my third year.

Thanks for Listening.  

Happy two years to me!


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If I was a programmer still in college, I would...

3. December 2008 15:32 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments (16)

I was mentoring some kids the other day about being in college as a programmer.  Heck they could even had been kids in high school.  The ideas stated here still apply.

  • still worry about grades - Grades get you the job, but they don't keep your job.  Learn new things and relax off the grades a little.  You don't have to always get that A in class.  Unless you're going for a masters or PHD right after your bachelors, relax and have a little more fun.
  • put down the video games - There is much more to life than video games and chatting with people online you have no idea about.  The biggest thing that got me to put down a controller were the questions that "If I disappear tomorrow in the gaming world, will I be missed?  If I disappear tomorrow in the real world, will I be missed?"  There is a big line in spending a bit more personal time with your real friends compared to just some people on the other side of the world.
  • go out a few more times - I am two years out of college and I sure do miss it sometimes.  The interaction with all the people.  The not having to worry about bills and not waking up to a 9-5 job would be amazing again.  On a side note: I do think I have grown out of the parties a bit.
  • have thought of a GREAT IDEA and gone with it - It was the perfect time to focus less on college studies and more time on a great business/web 2.0 idea.  I had plenty of time where I got bored, I should have focused it towards a great idea and making it happen.  Now a day, I get home at 6pm and only have about 3 hours to work on my ideas at home.  I don't have much time left in the day to actually get my business ideas up and running.
  • join a Fraternity - It is a known fact that more than 75% of CEO's have been in a college fraternity.  It is a known fact that you get resources and jobs just through your fraternal world.  You get connections beyond your belief and you get a better social life in college.  Instead of playing those video games by your self, you could be enjoying a great time with friends that you have a close bond with.  Sure you might think of it as paying for friends, but I thought of it as networking and a social life.  I did join a Fraternity and got much more than I expected out of what I put in.  For a college job making $7.50 and hour and only working 10 hours a week, I was able to pay for my fraternity and social life.  It was a great bargain!
  • have thought of a GREAT IDEA and gone with it! - I know it is a repeat, but I fear it was one of my biggest mistakes in college.
  • have learned a real programming language - Java and C++ are no longer really used these days outside of academia.  Some people will even argue that java has become too academic.  I know Ill get some flack for this, but I consider it to be true.  Did you know that Microsoft uses 98% C# in its work environment?  I wouldn't learn PHP now seeing that Microsoft gives out its IDE and workspace extremely cheap these days to students.  Java and C++ are a good free language.  Even if you don't pick up two languanges, at least pick up one.  Learn one programming language and build something with it!
  • not let my teacher hold me back - teachers can sometimes not care too much about students.  Don't let them hold you back.  There is a BIG saying at most big universities which is hard to get away from.  "Publish or die" Teachers are required to publish at universities.  Unless they really like teaching, they are required by the university to publish or leave. They don't care much about the students. Don't let the teachers hold you back.
  • try to find a mentor - You can never have too many mentors.  I wish I would have found one to guide me along the programmers trail.
  • have run with my great idea! - I know I said it once and twice, but this is the biggest thing I look back on and think I should have done that!
  • not own a credit card - Spring break is fun for a week, but bad credit last for 7 years or more.  Don't own a credit card and repeat mistakes of others.
  • Last but not least, Be controversial! - Don't be hated, but be controversial. Make sure you get your point of view heard.

This is only a short list and I imagine there are many other things in that period of time I wish I would have done, but this list will not die and will keep growing.

These thoughts are more of advice than a memory.  You can do what you wish with them. 

  • "Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth." - Baz Luhrmann
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In programming, clever != smart.

10. November 2008 19:52 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (37)

You ever have one of those days where you think you are the smartest man in the world and the best programmer at your place of work?  Then some clever kid comes along and does something that speeds up your code by a few seconds/minutes?  Ease your self.  Just because that person just solved your problem, doesn't mean they are smart.

"In programming, clever != smart." - anonymous


You work all day on a certain project, take a step back and look at it.  Its some of the beautiful code you just created, but you are hung up on this little issue.  Along comes some programmer and they solve it for you. When I was in high school or middle school and I was getting off the bus.  One day I heard one of my bus drivers say to a girl.

"You might be book smart, but your not street smart" - anonymous 

I tend to think that I am about in the middle of this quote.  I tend to think I am both book and street smart.  I imagine most people do.  Book smart programmers tend to be better at writing code then their street smart counter part.

The book smart programmer (smart):

  1. tended to focus more in school on classes including algorithms.
  2. tended to have less of a social life due to studying more or less depending on how fast they got solutions to projects.
  3. tended to be either inside playing video games or working on a cool project that could solve the way USB drives communicated to computers.
  4. tended to have soda cans and candy around while staying up late around his computer.
  5. tended to get better grades.


The street smart programmer (clever):

  1. tended to focus a bit more on going out and socializing.
  2. tended to focus a bit more on girls.
  3. tended to copy and paste code.
  4. tended to join a social organization.
  5. tended to have a bit more fun in the activities they thought up.
  6. tended to get a little lower grades.


This reminds me of the movie "Real Genius". Where Chris seems to have both of these types of people tackled.  He sees Mitch and he sees the old him.  The book smart programmer(laser tech).  Mitch is stuck with trying to do the best in college that he can. Then one day, Chris gives Mitch a little lesson. He lets Mitch know that college and life can't just be all books.  It has to be books and fun.  It has to be smart and clever. Sure clever != smart, but wouldn't it be good to be both? Wouldn't it be satisfying to be Chris and let Mitch slack off a bit.  They are both geniuses.

I went to college for four years, I did my fair share of partying and I didn't graduate with the best GPA.  For a Computer Engineer, it is a pretty shameful GPA.  Though I got a real job before even graduating.  I had done some work on the side while still in school.  I got an intern with my college Fraternity. This advanced my ability to show my future employer I can have a real job and keep it.  I am not saying stop all your studies now, but live life.

Programmers need to both be smart and clever. Not just smart and not just clever.  If you want to tackle the real issues, you can't keep writing code all day and every day.  You need to just step out and have some fun.

"Don't let Life pass you by..." - Scott

I am not trying to be a philosopher, but what I am saying is find your true happiness in life.  Be smart and clever.  Don't get stuck on always trying to be the best or smartest, but make sure you Get the Job Done at the same time.

P.S. I always tend to start on one subject and completely finish with another by the end of the post.  This one is no different. hah.

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