Going pro

So much for blogging little things, eh? Normally I would emphatically ignore my blogging absence, since a) “sorry I haven’t been blogging” posts are the worst and b) approximately zero people will read this. In this case, it’s the perfect segue into what I want to talk about… assuming perfect segues begin with pointing them out explicitly…

spoiler: me at my new job

I set up this portfolio site and started writing here back in June as part of a web development boot camp program. Just before beginning that, I’d left my job back in Washington, DC that I’d been doing mostly remotely from Ithaca since the previous September. Managing a team remotely wasn’t working for me and, being an introvert, I much prefer working with a team in-person to by myself in our apartment’s extra room. I even tried working at a co-working space for a while, but it’s just not the same as in-person collaboration.

As my now tired stump speech on my career change goes, web development and coding have been my favorite work duties since I was the social media fellow at the now defunct 1Sky. Initially that meant hand coding custom web page content and blog posts, mostly. That was followed by lots of email and action templates at 350.org, as well as the occasional Drupal site update.

At EchoDitto, I was finally making web development my full time gig, though as a project manager. I did love that work, but as the work became more about digital campaign strategy, I became less engaged. Then, most recently, at Oceana I led the digital comms team. This used all the skills I’d built to that point in a great way. It was challenging and I was given real freedom within the parameters of our goals. Still, I couldn’t help but to grab onto any opportunity there was to get into code. And I always had my eye on the promised, and eventually completed, full website redesign.

As I finally detached from Washington advocacy work here in Ithaca, it felt like the perfect time to dive into what had always felt like the right career direction. Which brings us back to the dev boot camp. (Was that whole thing just a segue? Cripes.)

denouement

So the reason that I haven’t posted about this process since August? Well, that’s the very month in which I got a job as a real, live front end developer! I’m now working at Singlebrook Technology right in downtown Ithaca. It’s a lovely 15 minute walk or 2 minute bike ride from home and is staffed by some really great people. Actually, when I knew we’d be moving to Ithaca and I did my search of potential employers, Singlebrook had stood out as my top choice right away.

For the past few months, I’ve been writing a crap-ton of syntactically awesome style sheets a sprinkling of Javascript, and more Drupal-flavored PHP than I ever thought I would. I love how much I’ve been able to use my previous work on the client-side and as a strategist, and the Singlebrook team has been very interested in considering and using this new guy’s ideas in our work.

I had thought that my journey to full employment as a developer would take much longer, honestly. I wrote a whole post right after my first in-person interview going more into that process. I’d planned to publish it once I was politely told I was not the right fit. Since that didn’t happen I held off, but I might still post that pretty soon.

This year will go down for me as a real life milestone. If my rambling recounting of my career above shows anything, its someone who set himself on one path and somewhat let himself get stuck there, even if it wasn’t 100% his passion. This year I saw the opportunity to change that and, with great support from my wife, I went for it. So many things contributed to that, including past experience, the nature of this job, support from my personal network, and more. I’m grateful for all of it and ready to make the most out of going pro in this great industry.