Thursday, August 20, 2015

Latest Developments

A lot of people mentioned to me that I sort of stopped updating my blog.

That's true, but here I am!

I enjoyed BMSi a lot. I learned a lot about the medical industry: terminology, procedures, codes, etc. 

Near the beginning I was working on a multi-threaded, socket-driven medical software suite of applications built in .NET. I had very little VB.NET experience, other than the class I took in college. But my many years of C#.NET transferred well into the VB.NET world. I was a rockstar with 0 years of professional experience.

But too much VB is bad for the soul. There are a lot of things that I just don't like about VB. C# is automatically strict, the code is smaller, more elegant, case-sensitive, and pleasing to my brain. VB also introduced me to the concept of global modules (basically public classes with static members, but totally different). That breaks object-oriented design.

Enough of the anti-VB talk. Google has plenty of other links to online vented VB-hatred.

About halfway through my career at BMSi, the chief software developer left to be CIO of some other company. I inherited his web projects and instantly fell in love with web development. So I spent several months maintaining and developing his ASP.NET projects and WCF SOAP services. And the past seven months of my career I developed an ASP.NET MVC 5 application for my grand finale.

It essentially consisted of seven pieces of software (excluding the SQL Server database):

A studio to map Word document pages to PowerPoint slides, edit mappings/slides, etc. 
A presentation platform to present the mapped presentations to attendees at various seminars.
A website for users to see both the slides and the pages (AJAX-loaded when a new association was found in a new slide).
A web server for sending the slide information from the presentation platform to the website.
A synchronization tool for synchronizing intranet served data to and from the internet-based website.
A document converter for converting the Word document into PDFs (so I could display them with PDF.js).
A conversion library for defining the conversions (PPT->Image, PDF->Image, DOC->PDF, DOC->DOCX) and mapped presentation data structure.

I spent about seven months before I completed the entire thing and had tested it at the seminars a few times. So I averaged a huge project per month; which is not too shabby for a guy with less than two years of professional experience.

I learned how I work under pressure. My constraints, strengths, and weaknesses. I learned a bit about myself throughout the entire ordeal. I also got deeply entrenched in the world of web development thanks to this.

I'm now working at ImageNet Consulting in downtown OKC as a software developer. But I only work with ASP.NET and SQL. And guess what? I'm using C# again! I absolutely love my new job. I've already produced production quality code in my first couple of weeks and am coming along fairly well.

I've never really worked at a rigid Agile shop before. BMSi was very erratic in terms of its project management methodology. I'm not even sure if they really had one. I was getting requests for new features on average every thirty minutes to an hour. Some days I'd go an entire day without any feature requests. Poor planning and not really knowing what we wanted left us with stacks of scope creep. They broke Brook's law by bringing in the other junior (who's very talented by the way) far too late into the project. Basically the last week I was there, I was given the task of bringing him up to speed. On my thousands of lines of code over several different projects. Ha. I have faith in that guy though. Hopefully he finds what he's looking for.

Anyway, back to ImageNet. It's real, authentic Agile. I get weekly sprints (as opposed to hourly), and am surrounded by other experienced developers if I need a little help. Because remember, I'm still technically junior. I feel intermediate, but when I jump into a foreign code-base and database, it will take some time for me to ramp up.

I'm having fun, and learning a lot. And doing exactly what I've always wanted to do. I'm working downtown, writing software, and sleeping well at night. I'm finally content.

These 4278 characters should hold you people off for awhile. :P

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