Curious to learn more about my background?
Below you will find some of my comments to common interview questions.Can you tell me more about your management background?
I think regardless of my role, quite often I am asked to contribute my efforts to communicate and organize my teammates. I am constantly trying to iterate and optimize my work efforts, to improve my techniques in order to make a better experience for everyone involved. Work quite often requires tasks that are (or become) pain points and that it’s important to lead by example to find ways to streamline those techniques.
In both my positions at Flashtalking I lead efforts for my team to work together better. In my role on the production team, I got my immediate team members on the west coast to adopt workflow standards (like using git and with Bitbucket for backing up and sharing our projects, and more regular coding standards) so we could quickly and easily hand off projects between us. Later in my role on the Studio team, I lead efforts to create more documentation for tasks that were very manual and time-consuming. This allowed us to quickly offer more standard responses to common questions which we could then offer more customized support as needed instead of delaying our responses till there was time to only offer customized responses.
Working for both Nom Games and Mixercast, I worked with and managed offshore teams in India, the Philippines, and Minsk. We would communicate directly during established times (typically at the end of my day), setting priorities and expectations for their workday, then as needed I would pick up any issues the following day to fix bugs, answer questions, prototype methods, and evaluate their code communicating details back to the remote team so they were set for their next day at work. Working at Eveo, we were at a loss for other dedicated developers and I would train designers to work within our established templates to code flexible animation sequences for our pharmaceutical presentations.
What do you see yourself doing in your next position?
I really enjoy working in a position that allows me to teach as well as work as a programmer. Having both solely taught and work as a developer, I find my sweet spot is to work in a position that allows me some aspect to work with both. When I only work as a developer, my skills can get a little stagnant when I simply accomplish the job at hand. When I work as an instructor I’ll get questions and glimpses of new ideas and ways to do things as engage my students, but without the chance to work with those ideas in a production type of setting those ideas can go to waste.
When I taught ActionScript to designers at the College of San Mateo at night and worked as a developer during the day, my skills grew quite significantly. In my more recent position at Flashtalking on the Studio team, I was able to conduct training sessions with a wide range of clients with different needs and build prototypes for their needs so they could produce the ads they intended. This pushed me to reach further trying new techniques and ideas, and I would suggest and debate various approaches to solving problems both externally with clients and internally with our team.
Tell me more about yourself
I’m a San Francisco native, grew up out in the Sunset District. I’ve been living down the peninsula since I was 17, although I’ve spent most of my career working in various locations around the city. I have two girls, one in elementary school, and the other getting ready to start high school.
In college, I tried a lot of different majors. I started with the idea to become an airplane mechanic which quickly became a bad idea as United (the largest employer in the area) decided to lay off a third of their workforce the semester I started – although I really enjoyed the electronics classes. I then switched to electronics which didn’t seem to have much of a program or a path to employment. I then started to take classes toward a civil engineering degree/transfer but had trouble with classes like Fortran.
Eventually, as I continued to take general education classes that would transfer or go toward my associated degree I came across a new degree program for Multimedia in 1998. Teachers from broadcasting, graphic design, and journalism founded the new department and created the degree program. After taking an intro class I felt like I wanted to learn more. The classes introduced me to a lot of new ideas and where and how to learn more on my own.
By the time I had finished my degree (becoming the first graduate of the program) I had already started my career as a corporate trainer and contracting flash projects on the side. I was asked to return to my college and fill the vacant Flash instructor position. I taught there part-time for a dozen years creating a second advanced programming class for designers and continuously writing and updating my curriculum for the many changes Flash and ActionScript went through during that period.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m usually out with my kids every weekend. I like to think of it as running away on adventure. Growing up here I was lucky enough to have parents and school groups who loved to go experience new places all around the Bay Area. I’m still finding new places to take my kids regularly, and love trying out ones I’m already familiar with.
Recently I’ve started to write about my experiences and have plans to launch several self-published books about my experiences and places to go.
I also have created a print and play travel game, with plans for others in the near future.
Why are you leaving your present job?
As of January 2018, my previous company Flashtalking had laid me off after working there for 4 1/2 years. I held two distinct positions at Flashtalking, the first in production and the second in support. I hadn’t planned on leaving, but these things happen. The company had made some across the board cuts, and I got caught in the shuffle.
Having some time available, I decided to treat my time off as a sabbatical. I’ve signed up for some classes at my local community college to finally pursue my computer science degree (something I have a lot of practical knowledge for, but still have some gaps to fill), I’ve been working a lot on writing both for my side project of family adventure books and with my hoorayarray.com project where I write about bringing story and passion to more mundane technical writing, and I’m taking some skillshare classes to improve my illustrator skills. I’m really trying to refresh my creative well so when I do head into my next position, I’m enthusiastically ready to go.
Tell me about something that makes you happy, and convince me to be happy about it too.
I love getting my kids out for our little adventures and really enjoy encouraging others to do the same. Having an organized approach in order to regularly achieve a successful day out lets me focus on so many of the available fun places to take the kids around the Bay Area. It takes a lot of work to maintain my lifestyle living here near San Francisco, it’s tremendously important to enjoy the benefits we have living here.
Getting out for new experiences recharges my mental batteries. Not only does continuously having new experiences feed my creative muse (both personally and professionally), the energy and enthusiasm I gain from my weekend adventures feed into my work week.
I don’t look forward to the weekend because it’s a break from work, I look forward to the opportunity to push myself and grow, and watch my kids do the same.
What have you been doing with your time off?
I hadn’t realized how drained I had become from my last position until I had a little time away. So I’ve been treating my time between jobs like a sabbatical. I’ve been taking a number of online classes from Skillshare and Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing 101 course.
I’ve wanted to self-publish a series of non-fiction books based on getting your family out for adventure. I’ve got one book nearly complete on the methods I use for successfully getting out on weekend day trip adventures, and my next book started which will feature 52+ weekend day trip adventures around the San Francisco Bay Area. I have future books planned for overnight adventures and road tripping.
I’ve spent a good deal of time writing and learning about the details that go into self-publishing. This is something I see myself doing as a full-time endeavor a few years down the road, but I guess only time will tell.
Exploring these creative outlets has been energizing, and I’m feeling ready to tackle my next full-time position – hopefully it will allow me to continue to build upon my writing skills.
Tell me more about your degree in Multimedia.
When I had originally started college, I had plans to become a civil engineer. After completing most of my general education classes, I wasn’t excited by classes in my major and by chance I took an intro class to a new (in 1997) field of study that would be introduced the next year. Multimedia was originally a multi-department project touching upon digital photography, broadcast & journalism, digital graphics, and computer science. By the time I finished the program, it had been established as its own department.
My big takeaway from earning this degree was being introduced to a lot of new ideas, technology, and learning how to ask myself good questions to push myself farther along my professional path. In fact, a number of classes were not progressing fast enough for me and I ended up reading through the textbook of many of my classes the first couple weeks of class allowing me the room to really stretch my skills and ask good questions of my teachers during the semester.
You mention going back to school, can you elaborate?
Having been largely self-taught when it comes to my programming background, I’ve decided to go back to college to take part-time online classes to complete my degree in Computer Science. Since I already have a degree, I only need to focus on classes within that major (around 30-35 units).
In the Spring 2018 semester, I signed up for 11 units in 3 classes, all of which I’m getting grades of straight A’s in. I’m currently planning on signing up for a 3-4 unit class in the Fall of 2018 which should bring me about half way through the program.