During and after college, I spent about five years traveling in Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Mexico learning French, and Spanish. After a while, I got tired of moving around. So, I decided to settle in a large American coastal city. I was lucky enough to land a job in Northern California.
Since 2006, I’ve been immersed in San Francisco, meeting my wife Meg, and a wonderful group of friends.
Software Development Work
I’ve been fascinated by computers since I was a kid. My parents wouldn’t allow my brother and I to have a Nintendo, because, they said, “It made you get into fights.” Instead, I remember my dad bringing home a Tandy 1000-TX. My first operating system was DOS 3.2. I actually wore out the spine on the books they gave my dad in the Radio Shack when he bought the computers: “Learn MS-DOS, Basics”, and “Learn MS-DOS, Advanced”.
This “Tutor DOS” certificate from 1989 is one of my proudest possessions:
I moved on to writing programs in MS-BASIC. I hacked my TI-85 so that I could transfer assembly programs onto it via a serial cable. In high school I was into BBSes and Tradewars 2002. Then, I got free dial-up access to the early internet through my local community college. WWW had not been invented yet, but there was email (my first email address was firstname.lastname@example.org), ftp, telnet, and gopher. My brother, friends, and I would play Wolfenstein 3D by dialing one anothers houses via modem. Then, we discovered MUME, a text-based MUD we connected to via telnet. It’s like World of Warcraft with reading and typing.
A key experience was the day I first opened up Gopher. I had been used to exploring computer programs and trying to find all their “screens” – but, I realized, it was completely impossible to see all the “screens” in Gopher. It was practically infinite, for an individual. My mind exploded.
So, in college among other things I began creating websites and programming in Java. I was very inspired by Google’s rise in the early 2000s and, so when it came time to settle down the dream of doing something great with computers was a bright star for me. Although my degree was in Electrical Engineering and Technical Writing, I came up with the plan of marketing myself as a Technical Writer with an Engineering degree. I thought this made me appear over-qualified and, might give me an edge. The plan worked and in 2005 I was hired as a Junior Technical Writer by Ariba. After this, my friend Anthony Yam asked me to come create a QA team for his infant startup Spongecell. Spongecell was written mainly in Ruby on Rails. And the rest, so they say, is history.
Since 2010 I have worked as an Independent Software Consultant specializing in Ruby on Rails & HTML5 web and mobile applications, among other things. I work with a number of clients including The Bold Italic, An Event Apart, Creativebug, among many others.
I enjoy software development. In recent years I feel I have been getting more mature at it. I’m very interested in software development as an extension of literacy. I see computer programming as a sort of writing or poetry, where your audience is both the users of your program, and the other programmers who will have to read, understand, extend, and maintain it.
I also enjoy working with people: I enjoy the creative process, good communication, and relationship building. I am good at understanding how I can be helpful in different work contexts, communicating a vision of what I can offer, and negotiating with different team members to do the best work possible under the circumstances.
Where else can you find me online?
- Email: email@example.com
- Github: https://github.com/kevinmtrowbridge
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinmtrowbridge
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kevinmtrowbridge
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kevinmtrowbridge
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A1UAICOGKFSPLC
- Beeminder: https://www.beeminder.com/kevinmtrowbridge