2017 - Was a Year of Change

Mar 01, 2018


Let me start off by saying, it’s been one heck of a year and so much has changed in my life, it’s almost unrecognizable. To start, I had a few career changes; I went from doing IT support for a car rental agency to being laid off. Being laid off was quite an uncomfortable experience, because I have kids and a family to support. While waiting to get hired I used this downtime as a learning experience and worked on various projects. At least, until I got some contract work. At first, it was a dream come true, working as a developer, getting paid for what I loved. There were several very smart developers in which I was working with and learning from.

That was until the owner slowly started cutting everyone’s checks back and saying “Oh sorry I’ll add it onto your next check.” And then after a few missed and partial payments, he completely disappeared. Or at least stopped all contact with my team. One-by-one, we were all removed from the various SasS services in which we had used. We were removed from the GitHub repos, time-trackers, invoicing, etc. Luckily I still have a local copy of the git repo, if I ever have to prove any of my work.

From here I was kind of desperate for work and took the first thing that came along. For several months, I actually worked for a local locksmith and it was quite the learning experience. Don’t get my wrong; I respect the hell out of any locksmith out there it just wasn’t for me.

But I lucked out and for the past year or, so I’ve been the Web Developer/IT Coordinator for a pretty sizable Non-Profit within my area. For the most part of really enjoy my job, but like any job some days it can be quite trying. This is because some days I’m doing data entry and adding info to one of the databases or helping an older lady re-sync her email, or do a sum formula in excel. And other days I’m mounting a new rack router, patch panel, and running Cat6 through one of our several buildings. And sometimes I’m working on one of the several websites our organization operates. I’m always writing code to assist with certain tasks, it may go unnoticed. But I think of it as; if it gets noticed then I did something wrong.

One of my biggest accomplishments thus far has to be the upgrade of the organizations networking. First of all, I’m not a networking/telecommunications expert, but I know when your not using the right equipment. When I first started they had networking equipment that would have been great for a home based setup. But when you have 70+ users at any given time with multiple devices hooked up to the network. Each person has the following VoIP Phone, Laptop, and usually their cellphones as well. This just don’t work well with a low quality home router. Their network was always congested, phone calls were choppy, their DHCP server was only allowing a range of 70 devices so every few minutes several peoples phones, laptops, or other devices were getting kicked from the network.

I came in and pulled out several of the little crappy routers and added a few centralized switches. And hooked everything into a MikroTik Cloud-Core Router. I’ve spent the last several months learning the ins, outs, and little gotchas of this machine (and far from being an expert). At first, it was extremely intimidating, but the more I play with it; the more I’ve come to love and appreciate it. I’m absolutely locked on using MikroTik routers now, they’re great for home, business, or whatever needs you may require. Heck they even have some amazing Hotspots you can manage through the routers as well. One of my other favorite things about the MikroTik Routers’, is unlike your regular home routers you can build scripts, schedules, or filters to do whatever you absolutely want with your device.

My accomplishments aren’t limited to just networking, since working at my current position I’ve helped build several websites. Most of them are for various causes in which we are associated with and others are to promote our various programs, or generate revenue for the organization. We’ve got an Outreach/Media guy and a Public Relations associate. But seeing as how I’m really the only one who does any web development/programming everything that’s been put on my plate, has been a pick-and-choose opportunity. Some projects are exciting are quite exiting to work on. But occasionally I’ve had more than a full plate and had to pass on them.

One of the great things about not being limited to a specific technology by the organization is it has allowed me to pickup and learn various other technologies. Over the last several months I’ve picked up and learned VueJS, which is an absolutely amazing JavaScript framework. I’ve never been a heavy JavaScript user, more like I had been disgusted with the state of JavaScript. jQuery made the world a mess and old snippet sites such as Dynamic Drive are out of touch with modern needs. But ES6 combined with React, Angular, Vue, and Ember have completely changed the dynamic of modern web applications. With the introduction to VueJS my love for frontend development has returned and I’ve been jumping at various projects to expand on my knowledge, experience, and to try new and exciting things.