Trainer / Web Apps Developer
Trainer / Web Apps Developer
Jeff has worked nearly two decades as a developer on many high-profile websites. These experiences and others have contributed to the building blocks of his career.
Besides writing code, he also enjoys writing and editing on blogs. (He once longed for one of those “I’m silently correcting your grammar” coffee mugs, but his wife wisely talked him out of it.) His blog topics include technology, programming, island living, religion, philosophy…and anything else he finds interesting when the coding is complete.
If you want to get in touch with Jeff, feel free to contact him or add him on Twitter. For more information on Jeff, scroll down for his full bio. Also, please encourage him to never again write about himself in third-person.
Sometime back in the dark ages of the B.I. years (Before Internet), I learned to program in Basic on an Apple IIe and an Atari 800XL. (That should date me for the die-hard nerds out there.) I enjoyed creating simple programs, and picked up quickly on programming constructs. Despite my family’s encouragement later on, I didn’t want to study Computer Science in college. I told them I didn’t want to sit in front of a computer screen all day.
Instead of Computer Science, I studied Communications in college. I enjoyed writing, radio, video, public speaking, performing on stage…anything media-related in the days before the Internet. My career plans included possibly working as a press secretary or speechwriter for a politician (what was I thinking?), or something else that tapped into my quirky affinity for addressing a crowd. But economic factors pushed me into something more practical: sales.
I worked in sales and management for about ten years. It went well, but I only felt any satisfaction when a consultative style of sale prevailed over the hard sell. I preferred the role of trusted business partner, a valuable source of information to go along with the goods and services. I wanted clients to get what fit their needs, and be up-front with them if I didn’t offer it. That attitude wasn’t always popular, but I believe it’s a better way to do business.
I broke out of sales and made a connection back to my university studies in 2000, when I became a technical writer for a Fortune 500 company. During that time, I adapted my programming skills to this new thing called the World Wide Web. When my department head found out I could code, I began splitting my time between writing user manuals and writing code for the documentation portion of the company website.
From there, I dove head-first into full-stack web development and IT operations at a start-up. We built and supported high-profile college and high school sports sites. I learned Linux and database admin skills in a trial-by-fire atmosphere, babysitting servers for Friday night football and making quick patches during March Madness.
Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I’ve worked as a full-stack web developer and devops engineer. I’ve worked on and supported sites ranging from that Fortune 500 company, state and local governments, a few mom-and-pop storefronts, and lots of high-visibility sites in between. And as a result, I’ve spent many years in front of a computer screen…and I’ve loved it.
And now, after years of sitting behind the screen, I’ve found an outlet for my speaking and presentation skills as a trainer. But I approach it much differently than I might have done just out of college. I’ve learned that, while I might be standing in front of a crowd, I’m not the “sage on the stage,” disseminating knowledge to the masses. Rather than being the center of attention, I’m the facilitator of their own learning, gently guiding them toward the goal…and that’s a good place to be.