Why I got into computers and web development

To give a back story to everything…

I was a filmmaker/designer for about 10 years. In 2010 when the economy was tanking, I was let go at an ad agency where I was a print and web designer. I had basic knowledge of HTML and CSS as well as very little JavaScript. With the layoff, I ended up on unemployment and looking for a new job in design/web or video production. The pickings were minimal and my situation was looking bleak.

In this time, life slowed down and I spent some time soul searching. In the back of my mind I wanted to finally locate my older brother, whom I never met as he was adopted out as a baby. My mother was 16 when she had him and my grandfather sent her away to give birth & surrender him for adoption. My sister was down and out of luck with finding anything on him and I thought this would be a great suprise for her. With the little knowledge I had on the birth details of my brother and a few other facts I knew about my parents at the, I handed the info off to my girlfriend. She wanted to give it a whirl and possibly come up with something pointing us in some direction. Well…within 45 minutes she had a possible match. We entered my information, which the agency would pass to this person that could possibly be my older brother. They said they would have him contact me.

The next morning I got a voicemail. It was a guy named Greg Newman. He said the agency had contacted him to let him know someone thinks they are a relative and they are marking the case as solved. I returned Greg’s call. We talked for a little while sharing some stories of our parents and decided a DNA test would be the best fit for a truth. Already everyone involved here noted the close simiarities of our physical features.

Although we talked every day and felt we knew the results, within a few weeks we had the official results…99.9% positive for a match. It was crazy. Within the waiting period, I found many attributes to him that paralleled my interests and professional experiences. He too was interested in art, illustration; he was a designer and now he is a programmer.

My brother learned of my unemployment situation and also my grim expectations regarding another design job. He felt with our likenesses I might consider a career change into development. At first I thought no way, this is nuts, I have looked at Actionscript and that might have well been a foreign language. He said he’d pass along books and share knowledge to get me started just to see what I thought. At first I was a little lost, I didn’t understand most of what I was reading. After a few weeks, and upon getting through “Learning Python the Hard Way” (book) I was starting to build a fastination for the craft.

When I was in high school and in my beginning years of college, I was studying architecture. I loved math and engineering. Programming seemed to share these elements also, just in another form.

Spending a few months tinkering with my brothers shared code, looking at open source and reading books written by peers of my brother(whom he was friends and introduced me to) gave me a better grasp & got me started. Before I knew it I was on a remote dev team building a Voter Guide App for facebook to share and research who to vote for during elections. This was exciting! I was finally considered a junior programmer, at the very least.

Over the next few years I moved steadily up through various development roles, and self taught all the while. Working as a web developer for a company based in the UK. Creating a mobile application for Maryland State Police in Phonegap and designing the UI/UX for it. Working for a branding agency out of Rockville, Maryland and building websites for various clients like Volkswagen and Washington Redskins…and so on.

Here I am today, looking to get better at a few things I know I need to strengthen. Front-end development, get better at JavaScript and a develop a better understanding of Computer Science since I lack the formal education behind this.

Excited to be a new team member with the Mobiquity team building quality applications and websites.