I make my living these days helping others achieve their online goals. Technically you might call me a web developer or even a software engineer. However, while this may sound overtly technical, drafting code is only one part of the equation. There is a lot more to an online success than the code that drives a site, and the role I often play takes that into consideration. To sum things up, I help identify, shape, develop and ultimately create and maintain online properties, relationships and value for my clients in the realm of Internet business.
Depending on the demands of a particular project, I may find myself helping to shape an idea for a new online venture, planning, writing or rewriting a site's content and marketing copy, putting together a company's press releases, planning and or outlining an effective user interface, or even implementing an effective SEO campaign on the strategy side of things. On the technical side of the equation, I have no qualms about getting my hands dirty, from setting up and maintaining the web and database servers that run a site, designing databases, writing secure standards compliant code adhering to best practices, not to mention testing and debugging that code, and even maintaining such a project across a team of technical professionals.
I help shape and often direct online marketing and business objectives, work to gain top search engine results, and most importantly, work to figure out how to make a web property do what it is intended to do, which is to get results. Mastery of the technology is one thing, getting results and enjoying a successful venture is another. To put it one way, I am an online "jack of all trades" when it comes to producing online properties. To put it another, take this personal web site as an example.
The site was built through and through by me. I wrote the content that you are now reading. I then formatted that text in XHTML to strict compliance mode and then styled it using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).
I am using a number of scripts and libraries written in a scripting language called PHP. PHP is a module that runs inside of the open source Apache web server, which I installed and configured on the actual machine that is hosting this web site and many others.
The site utilizes a template engine called Smarty, elements of the popular Zend Framework, and a number of other custom object oriented classes I created to make overall site maintenance easy and scalable (just in case I were to get millions of hits).
This site also utilizes the popular MySQL database engine that holds much of the site's content and stores information provided by visitors such as yourself when you fill out the contact form for example. I designed the database that the site pulls from, and utilizing stored procedures available in MySQL, I installed and configured and compiled the database server itself from source code.
The site uses the popular Subversion source control application. I am not only using Subversion to maintain the code that makes up this site and many others, I also compiled installed, and configured the Subversion server as an Apache module.
In addition to the above, I built and configured the server that is sitting on the Internet and serving this and many other web sites. The server also hosts email for not only myself, but also other clients I work with. That email server is a Qmail based installation that draws upon many other applications to make up the complete email system which includes support for virtual domain hosting; it effectively battles spam and other ill intentioned efforts.
On top of this, I strategically built this site with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. The last time I checked, I placed at the top of Google for "PHP developer resume", and I seem to jump around between number two and three for "web developer resume". I have many clients who currently enjoy top organic search engine results.
That provides a partial example of what I do, at least in regards to the technologies I work with. There is of course more. If you are curious to learn more about me professionally, then by all means, feel free to have a look at my resume. If you think you might be interested in offering me a job, then please have a look at the personal statement I have added to accompany my resume. Currently, aside from the usual work I pick up from others, my attention has been focused on a few projects of my own. I consider myself to be an entrepreneur at heart, and have had my hand in a number of ventures throughout the years.
While web development may define what I currently do for a living, it does not define who I am as a person. With that said, here are some rambling thoughts about me if you care to know.
I enjoy photography, the arts, philosophy, politics, great food, great music, and great conversation. Topics may include anything and everything from toothpaste to philosophy. A great conversation does not necessarily have to be about a great topic.
I can respect creative expression in all of its forms and would argue that attending the opera does not make you a better person than if you simply went out for a movie. If someone puts their heart and soul into their craft, that is something to see and appreciate.
I like to travel and for me, traveling is about the opportunity to experience something new, something different, and maybe learn something along the way, if not about yourself, the world we live in and the people we inhabit that world with.
I believe that there is a difference between an education and vocational training and that there is still great value to an education. This makes me old fashioned.
I believe Ayn Rand's book Atlas Shrugged goes a long way toward explaining modern American culture. This is not necessarily an endorsement of her personal hack philosophy.
I remain both optimistic and pessimistic about the Internet's potential.
In past lives I used to play the drums in a hard rock band, actively pursued photography (wanted to be a photojournalist), did my share of journalism and newspaper production work, and for a time I thought I might spend my life pursuing philosophy in the world of higher education, smoking jacket and pipe in hand. I also spent a lot of time around old 60's American muscle cars in my youth and often wish I never gave up my beloved 1969 Camaro RS convertible with a hyped up 350 V8 and Muncie four speed.