You know, I started this blog for several reasons: learning, expanding my social media and professional presence, creating some sense of an archive, etc… But I think one reason I should’ve done it for is clarity. Clarity? What do I mean by clarity… I think I mean it in several ways. I think I want to utilize it as a way to process my thoughts, but also as a way to create a journal of sorts and also a piece of reality. I think there are many, many great blogs out there. However, there are few I read that I get a sense of the author as a person. And to be honest, if I am going to do something, I want to do it as me, which I think means adding my character to the blog.
Now, I’m not saying I’m going to start blogging as my personal diary and at the opposite end of the spectrum, I’m not going to keep a separated professional presence like a lot of blogs have. I am probably just repeating myself at this point, but what I am getting at is I want this blog to represent me as who I am. That’s basically it.
So if I am to put myself on a digital display, I might as well give a background story, huh? Well here I will give my life’s elevator recap.
It all started on a hot sunny day…. nah this isn’t that type of story. So, I grew up in Dallas, TX through the end of Middle school. I was homeschooled for 4th and 5th grade and ended up skipping 6th. At the end of 8th grade I moved to Burlington, CT because of my Mom’s job. She was/is the breadwinner of my family and is an amazing business woman. Even to this day I will call her for advice about work.
After moving to Connecticut I spent the rest of high school years there. This time was filled going to school, playing in a punk rock band, playing football, skateboarding, anime, and getting into trouble. All the while, I was messing around with computers. After high school I decided to take the year off and continue working. One year later I enrolled at Southern Connecticut State University as an undecided major and went to orientation. You see, a couple weeks before my mom called me up at around 2am saying she wanted to pick my brain. A coworker of her’s had a position open for an
Excel Monkey Operations Analyst. She thought since I was good with computer’s that I might like the job. The job was about an hour and a half away but it was salary, which compared to my last job working retail was a huge jump. So I went for an interview. So fast forward to after orientation, I get a call and I got the job. Whether it was nepotism, I was better than the other candidates, or whatever, I had an opportunity. Do I want to make 40k a year or spend 40k a year on a degree that I don’t even want? This was the start of my career.
My career started off working for Grubb & Ellis, later acquired by Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. My job was to create a series of reports in Excel and distribute them accordingly. Within a few weeks I was learning and developing macros to make the repetitive days end. I later ended up helping implement different types of SaaS tools. After a few years, the company had one of those “Re-organizatoins”. You know the thing where they shift your job responsibility but don’t change your pay. Well after the 2nd one, I ended up in a group that was responsible for our business intelligence offering that was built on, you guessed it, QlikView.
After a couple years I had learned QlikView mostly on my own. At this point, NGKF acquired another company CFI (Computerized Facilities Integration). This company also had a QlikView team, well one guy: Brian Vanderzanden. It was 100% thanks to Brian that I excelled in my Qlik knowledge. Brian had worked for a few Qlik consulting firms, including Bardess who I work for at the time I am writing this, and was on a completely different level. I really took advantage of his willingness to teach and I would say our personalities meshing. He was a great boss and teacher. However, with the several re-orgs I was now an intermediate/advanced Qlik developer with a minimal salary. Now it’s important to point out that after a year of working for NGKF, I switched to working remotely. So I’ve been working at home for about 4 years. Also, about midway through I decided if I am going to work from home, I want where I live to be exciting. Hence, I moved to Brooklyn, NY. So while I was able to surprisingly find a cheap place with my best friend and a couple others. I fully understood I was underpaid, especially in the job market around me.
After another minimal raise I decided to look for a new job. Not long after, I was able to land a job at Fast Retailing, owner of Uniqlo, as a QlikView developer. The only QV developer mind you. This role definitely stepped up my skills as I was responsible for the entire environment as well as the pipeline. This job was well worth it in experience as well as almost a 100% raise. Almost a year later I was approached by Bardess. At this point I had been working with Qlik for 5 years. Sense had been out, AWS was the talk of the town, and Hadoop was making a comeback. Also, I had never once been apart of the breadwinning part of the business. I was always support or supplementary to the core business. Joining a Qlik consultancy meant that I was doing what the company was doing, which I was extremely excited about.
After joining, I was able to do what I’ve always wanted to do, a lot of different things. I have a lot of interests and get bored pretty easily. Being able to tackle all types of challenges really made being a consultant enjoyable. I won’t speak too much into my time at Bardess, but I can tell you I’ve worked long and hard. After two years, I’ve been promoted twice and feel like I am truly making an impact.
I would say my journey was a bit unconventional. I stumbled into data analytics which is one of the hottest industries right now. I am making more than I ever thought I could without a degree, and I am interacting with high profile companies regularly. To think that I was living in a van, playing drums, and partying down the East Coast in what feels like yesterday, to putting on a suit and walking into conference rooms. It’s a strange thing. I still live this two sided life, but at the moment it’s a bit less drastic.