Rebecca and I started brewing beer. Years ago (2012) I started brewing beer with my friend Alex. I gave it up when I moved to South Korea since my apartment was so small. However, since… More
I’ve been at the small branding agency in Brooklyn for a few months. My first project was building a portal for students at a college in New York. The portal included sections for professors to post syllabi and other course material, a class directory, and a message board. It was a tough undertaking but I was able to complete it in a few days. The next project I had was building a site for an independent physician association for a major hospital in New York city. That project took me a few weeks.
The third project was building 3 sites simultaneously. At that point, I spoke with the founder and expanded the business from one junior developer to one project manager managing a team of remote developers.
I moved from a junior developer to a technical project manager and started working with a remote team. The team was based primarily overseas. My main focus was making sure the code was written up to our standards and fully customizable on the backend. I instituted a series of standards such as commented code, Foundation CSS, and standardizing plugins based on functionality such as trying to always use the same plugin for caching or for forms.
Let’s Get Analytical
This new role greatly expanded the business. Based on this new workflow, we were able to reduce website development costs by 30%, increase our bandwidth by 400%, and reduce our development timeline by 50%. I made it a goal of mine to revisit sites in the companies catalog and optimize those as well. I was able to reduce the page load time of older sites by an average of 20%.
Overall, I’m enjoying the work I do and the sense of ownership I feel over the projects as a whole. By working with more sites on shorter timelines, I’m also able to expose myself to more functionality and increase my WordPress knowledge at a faster rate.
After graduating from Flatiron, I interviewed at several places and the competition was fierce. As part of my interviewing process, I had to make forms using ERB, build a Tic Tac Toe game, create a survey generator in AngularJS, and map out a computer using class diagrams. I also built a personal project called Walk2Dinner. It helped me personally to find restaurants close to me and provide me with easy walking directions. It also pulls in pertinent weather data like temperature, sunset, and the chance of rain.
While I job searched for something in web development, I took a job as a project engineer at an engineering firm in Hell’s Kitchen. I did a lot of life safety surveying and helped the company with some business analytics. I helped streamline their digitization process for all the accumulated old documents they had laying around and helped them to launch their own web application called NYCityAlerts, based on the Python framework, Django. I also worked for the Flatiron School as a Learn Expert helping incoming students with online support and troubleshooting their development environments. It was a pretty intense few months. I would work from 8-4:30 pm in Hell’s Kitchen then come home and work from 5-9pm from my laptop. It was a great way to stay a part of the development community and keep my skills sharp.
Getting a Job
While I was working as a project engineer and a Learn Expert, I was also on the job hunt. A few months after graduating, I accepted a position at a small branding agency for nonprofits located in Greenpoint. The company is four people strong (5 now) and it’s a short walk to work in the morning, which I love. The short commute reminds me of my time in Korea. I’m the sole web developer at the company so there’s no one above me to bounce ideas off of or ask for help. Initially, it was pretty nerve-racking, but I’ve learned a lot and become quite adept at WordPress and PHP, the tools I work with most often.
It’s been three months since I last posted and a lot has happened. Most of the blogging I did in the past few months can be found on my technical blog but it’s all programming related so I decided to keep it on a separate site.
The Good News
First the good news. I finished the Flatiron School. It was intense and awesome and I made some great friends while I was there. We celebrated holidays, went out for drinks, had a Halloween party. During the last week we did a sort of campus draft where potential employers came in and met with us to discuss our projects. I got a few interested leads from it that I plan to follow up with after the Flatiron School.
Throughout the course of the program, we worked in different groups to create applications. One such application I built was called Charity Connection and it matched businesses with charities. For example, an after school group needs new computers and a finance company is getting rid of there old computers. The business could list the computers it wishes to donate and the charity could claim the computers. Then each party receives an email and can make arrangements for the transfer. I built another application called Just Lunch which helps busy people make friends for lunch.
The Bad News
The bad news, Nicole and I broke up. We had three great years together but our lives were taking us in different directions. She moved to Harlem in Manhattan to attend Bank Street and study museum education. I have no doubt in my mind that she’ll make a great museum educator one day. I moved to Greenpoint in Brooklyn. I now live with 3 great roommates, a hairstylist, an executive assistant, and a technical recruiter. We have a blast together and it’s been a really great match all around.
My web development program through the Flatiron School is September through December. After that Nicole plans to move back to the United States. Her and I are going to get an apartment together near Bank Street, her school.
In the meantime, however, I needed a place to live. Luckily, I found a subreddit for NYC Apartments. I procured a place to live in Bedford Stuyvesant, aka Bed Stuy, with a guy named Jon and his dog Peggy. Jon worked as a barista and Peggy was a dog so didn’t do anything.
Back in Florida, I rented an SUV with my friend Victor, and filled it with as many of my worldly possessions as I could, which worked out to about half. Victor and I drove through the night and made it to Brooklyn in 18 hours including stops for gas and one dinner at Shoney’s.
We arrived in Brooklyn the next day around 7am and unpacked my stuff. After unloading, we dropped the car off at JFK airport around the corner. The attendant we returned the car to was shocked by the quick time we made between Florida and New York. After dropping off the car we returned to the apartment and passed out for about 2 hours. Victor slept face down on the wooden floor. I slept in a chair. We were both so tired that it didn’t matter.
When we woke we walked around Williamsburg and took the subway to Manhattan to see the Freedom Tower. We walked around Wall Street and the Financial District as well. That evening, we met up with my cousin Ryan at Barcade, a really cool bar/arcade mashup. I got a call saying my mattress and bed frame arrived so we hailed a cab back to the apartment and moved it in before it could get stolen off the stoop. That night we got Victor to his bus in Chinatown where he rode back to Ohio.
I took the subway home and called it a night. It was weird having a new home, and even weirder being without Nicole for so long. At this point it was nearly a month since we last saw each other. I kept focus on Flatiron and learning as much Ruby as I could so that when Nicole returns I can get a good job and afford the crazy New York rent prices.
Back in Florida I got a chance to reconnect with my family who I hadn’t seen in almost exactly a year. They had recently become obsessed with the board game Settlers of Catan. We played dozens of games over the few weeks I was there. I got some dinner with my dad, had more craft beer at a few microbreweries that opened up along Central Ave, and went swimming in the pool.
My next door neighbor, Lauren, moved back to St. Pete and started working for her family’s company so her and I got a chance to hang out as well. Shortly before I was scheduled to leave for New York to start the web development program, Lauren invited me on an adventure to Miami to see her friend from South Africa perform at a bar. We made the 4 hour drive into a full day adventure of airboating and eating gator meat. It was fun to be a tourist in my own state.
In Miami we stayed with my friend Gerard and his parents. Gerard showed us around town and took us down to South Beach for a walkabout. That night we saw Lauren’s friend’s band perform. They were really good, but the weather was biblical. We Ubered downtown in the pouring rain and partied in near hurricane-like conditions. At the end of the night we had delicious tacos and took an Uber back. By the time we made it back to Gerard’s there was heavy flooding and the streets were nearly undriveable.
The next day Lauren and I hit the road and returned to St. Pete. Along the way we visited Koreshan State Historic Site. A real-life The Village. It’s a creepy little commune of old buildings once occupied by members of a cult.