This is a very brief biography of my professional experience in reverse chronological order (i.e., most recent first).
I have taken a break from work, allowing me to finish writing my Android User Interface Design book, film another video series, participate in a webcast, and spend time woodworking. I am fortunate enough to be in a position where I can be picky about where I work next, so I am awaiting the next opportunity that lets me create something exciting.
When A.R.O. shut down, I was fortunate enough to be one of a few offered an immediate position at Vulcan, Inc. where I was officially a Senior Software Engineer. The work was exciting, doing everything from rapid Android prototyping to hardware integration. I learned the basics of using a convolutional neural network for machine learning and controlling autonomous vehicles with custom software and hardware.
Prior to Vulcan, I worked at a startup called A.R.O., where I was the Director of User Experience and the Android lead. We developed a mobile application called Saga, the goal of which was to track the user’s location in the background in order to present a “lifelog” of where the user had gone. It was a very ambitious app with opportunities to tackle many challenging problems (like how do you track the user’s location without significantly affecting battery life). Unfortunately the company shut down in July 2014.
A friend of mine whom I had met and worked with at WWU suggested I interview at a startup called Treemo when I finished my degree. After the interviews, I was hired as a contract web developer and quickly discovered what the world of startups meant when my first two paychecks bounced. I stuck with it and was soon brought in as a full time developer, focusing on Android and systems integration (essentially, custom APIs for mobile apps).
At Treemo, I worked on a variety of apps such as CBS News, CNET News, and Rick Steves’ Audio Europe. A few of the apps were featured on the Android Market (as it was known at the time) and several had over a million downloads.
I attended Western Washington University, earning my degree in English and Secondary Education. I love writing and teaching and, at that time, I didn’t want to pursue a degree in computer science. I did work for the university as a web developer, teaching myself new languages and frameworks, in order to pay my bills, but I didn’t have an expectation that I would continue doing any development when I graduated.
I did a teaching internship for a semester at a local high school and learned a lot about long-term planning and public speaking. After earning my degree, I had some reservations about being a teacher full time, and I ended up going down a technical route after all.
I joined the United States Air Force as part of the Delayed Enlistment Program while I was still in high school. The month after I graduated high school, I was in basic training at Lackland AFB, TX. Basic training is not the kind of experience that is easily explained, but I can say it has made most of life’s challenges have seemed rather small in comparison. I learned a great deal about myself throughout the experience.
As part of my training to become a Satellite Communications (SatCom) Journeyman, I attended two tech schools, covering electronic principles and satellite communication. Nearly a year passed from the first day of basic training to the first day that I actually started working as a SatCom airman because the training was so extensive.
Two months later, I went to the Middle East.
My time there was certainly eye-opening and definitely had a large impact on me. Upon returning, I started looking into more and more training opportunities and ways to better myself. First, they took the form of additional tech school courses, then I progressed to taking CLEP and DANTES tests. When I had successfully completed several CLEP/DANTES tests, I started taking college courses at the University of South Carolina during the evenings. I stayed exceedingly busy with my military obligations and pursuit of education, but I completed my Associates of Applied Science (AAS) in Electronic Systems Technology in 2004 and immediately started working toward my bachelor’s degree.
Despite all that I learned, I wanted to pursue other opportunities, so I finished my enlistment in 2005 and moved back to Washington State to attend college at Western Washington University.