Another Change of Direction

June 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm in Personal, Work

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this passion for showing people how to do things. When I was in fourth grade, my dad, a teacher for the blind and visually-impaired, taught me how to program on an old Apple IIe computer. Once I got the hang of it, I started teaching my friends how to do write little programs of their own in our short-lived computer club after school.

When I went to UW-Eau Claire, I got a job in the web development area. Io once again found myself helping students learn how to program. I graduated and got a permanent job there doing all sorts of application development, from ASP to PHP to Rails. And for over eleven years, I’ve been fortunate enough to hire, train, and work with some great people who became amazing software developers, not to mention great friends.

During that time, I’ve also written books and done on-site and remote training sessions.  I’ve helped authors shape their books as a book editor. I’ve even been asked to teach in the classroom at UW-Eau Claire a few times, where I’ve been able to share my love of software development with people just getting into the field.

I love writing code. There’s something pretty cool about solving problems with code, but to me it never quite compared to the feeling I get when I help someone else become a better programmer. And it seems that no matter what I do, I gravitate toward teaching. Now, whenever I am learning something new, I’m thinking “How would I teach this to someone else?”

This week, I accepted a teaching position at Chippewa Valley Technical College. I’ll be part of the IT Programmer/Analyst program, teaching people how to build better software. I’m extremely excited about the opportunity. The program they offer looks great and I’m looking forward to helping even more students become competent developers when I start this fall.

While I’ll be leaving my current day job, I’ll still be hacking on Ruby and JavaScript code, and I’ll still be writing books. But now I’ll get to put more energy into teaching, and I can’t wait to start.


Web Development Recipes now in Print

January 4, 2012 at 9:17 am in Personal

I’m proud to announce that my latest book, Web Development Recipes, is available in print directly from the publisher.

Modern web development takes more than just HTML and CSS with a little JavaScript mixed in. Clients want more responsive sites with faster interfaces that work on multiple devices, and you need the latest tools and techniques to make that happen. This book gives you more than 40 concise, tried-and-true solutions to today’s web development problems, and introduces new workflows that will expand your skillset.

I’m very proud of this book, and extremely grateful to my coauthors for pitching in and making the book even better that it could have been.

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My Favorite PragProg Books

October 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm in Personal

For those that don’t know, I am a Development Editor for PragProg and have written a couple of books, but I’ve kept this list pretty objective. These are the books I think every developer should own.

Land The Tech Job You Love

This is honestly one of my favorite books, and I’ve bought many copies of this for people I know looking for jobs. If you’re a college student or just starting out in your career, this is a great guide for getting a great job instead of just a job.

Learn To Program

This book does such a wonderful job introducing complete beginners to the wonderful world of programming. As a bonus, it uses the Ruby programming language.

Pragmatic Thinking And Learning

This book helps you understand how you learn so you can adapt to learn more things faster. It’s recommended reading for my interns, and to pretty much anyone else working in a field that demands constant learning.

Using JRuby

It’s no secret I love Ruby, but JRuby lets me use Ruby on a lot more platforms, and it’s super efficient. This book is a great way to learn how to make Ruby play nicely with Java code, so whether you’re a Ruby developer or a Java developer, you’re going to learn a ton.

SQL Antipatterns

This is a must-read if you work with relational databases, or even if you think you know relational databases well. It’s fun to read, and it has a lot of interesting solutions.

There are, of course, so many other great books there, but these are the ones I’ve bought numerous times as gifts for other people. These are the “go to” books for me.

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August 10, 2011 at 7:06 pm in Book, Personal

For those that don’t know, I’m back to writing again. This time, I’m working with four others, and we’re almost done. Look for an announcement shortly. Very exciting times.

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