Why am I giving this advice? Well, I learned most of what I know from other programmers who were kind enough to share their knowledge on their own websites. I want to return that favor by doing the same thing and supporting other programmers. Plus I've found that in my attempts to help other developers I end up doing more research and that helps me keep up with the latest technologies and learn more myself.
A little about me:
I'm Justin Gengo (Jenn'go). I have often been asked what kind of background I have that got me into computer programming.
I was born in Homewood, Illinois, but grew up in Wisconsin. I got into computers at an early age (12) when I received a Commodore 64. I took a course in the basic programming language and later bought some books on 6502 machine language.
In college I majored in philosophy with an emphasis on symbolic logic which has helped my programming skills greatly, but only took a few computer courses.
After college I became sales manager of a team of 20 sales people and quickly built up some sales and marketing expertise. Four years later I moved to the world of finance as a business manager with the largest car dealership in Wisconsin. There, I saw an opportunity to combine my sales and marketing experience with my love of programming and created two applications that are still being used by all 22 locations of that dealership.
That work gave me some exposure and I soon had requests for programming and web work from other businesses. One of those businesses then hired me as their system administrator. Shortly after that I interviewed with Krause Publications (later purchased by F+W Publications, Inc.) and accepted the position of web developer. I spent 5 wonderful years with F+W Publications, Inc. as a web developer/programmer.
But I began to realize that in order to grow I needed more exposure to other types of businesses and fellow programmers who know more than I do. I was able to find that with Avastone Technologies, LLC. where I accepted the position of Senior Systems Developer. Avastone was a fantastic company and I really enjoyed working there.
Then I was offered a position with the Miles Kimball Company. Miles Kimball is a large direct sales company doing many exciting things with Microsoft technologies in the direct catalog sales arena. Not only does Miles Kimball Company have a great work environment it's also only about 1 mile away from my home which is the only reason I even considered the job. I sold my car and mountain biked to work every day (even in the winter). That lasted for two years, but I felt like I was stagnating there. Decisions were made that I didn't agree with so I gave Avastone a call and asked if they'd like me back.
My time back at Avastone Technologies, LLC. has taught me a lot. I was with Avastone a second time which lasted two years. the company is growing very quickly which is great but has also caused some resource issues which have caused other problems for all the people working at Avastone - mainly causing everyone to work many more hours. And while I enjoy programming family time is important too.
I've always had recruiters calling me, but the resource troubles at Avastone gave me reason to entertain offers and I received a fantastic offer from Kimberly-Clark. I'm now a Systems Analyst with Kimberly-Clark. Kimberly-Clark is a multi-billion dollar global corporation with over 59,000 employees! Suffice it to say that it's the largest company I've ever worked for. The size is absolutely mind-boggling. And with that size come a lot of perks. I'm already amazed at the multitude of employee programs. And the level of professionality. The people I'm now working with are at the top of their respective fields and it's easy to tell.
I love my job!