Dillingham.ws is a small personal blog on which I can share my projects and expertise with others.
My first exposure to programming was in the early 90’s using QBasic as part of a summer enrichment program at a local community college. At the time I didn’t quite understand what I was doing but I found the premise fun. I also took a class in Russian that summer but all I remember is how I hid in the bleachers while the rest of the class went in front of everyone during the final assembly and performed a Russian cultural dance. I’d do the same today in a simular situation.
My modern programming experience began shortly after I purchased my first “real” internet-capable computer in 1999. I was immediately drawn to IRC by the premise of anonymously trash-talking strangers thousands of miles away, however after the novelty of this wore off I soon developed real friendships with a diverse group of people. Along with IRC came the mIRC client software, which has a fairly expansive pseudo-functional-pseudo-event-driven scripting language.
I began to explore the language and because I had recently graduated high school, had no girlfriend and was working part time at a RadioShack, I had a TON of spare time on my hands. Over the next two years I generated tens of thousands of lines of code on dozens of different projects ranging from an FTP client to an XML parser to a Sokoban game. On days I didn’t work I would regularly program from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep, sometimes well over 24 hours later.
Among the classes I took was a course on Visual Basic which was taught using the newly released Visual Basic .NET. I recall that the textbook we used was a proof and it contained a ton of errors. C# had came out a year or so prior to Visual Basic but, as it goes with programming languages, nobody thought it was going to take off.
The curriculum at the time required that I take a mix of classes split between PC and mainframe programming, specifically using the college’s IBM AS/400. During my second semester of RPG I decided that community college might not take me as far as I’d like to go and I switched my focus from an Associate’s degree in programming to one that would allow me to transfer to a 4-year college. I spent the rest of my time at Southeastern acquiring general education credits.
In the fall of 2004 I enrolled at Western Illinois University with the goal of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. I didn’t appreciate the significance at the time but I now consider myself quite lucky that Western was one of the only colleges in the country offering Software Engineering as part of its CS curriculumn. I had chosen the school based on the commutable (3 hours a day, which I did every day) distance from my parent’s house and the affordability, but looking back I believe I still would make the same choice knowing what I know now.
During my final two years of college I began working at Staples as a sales associate and, believing in the importance of establishing a strong working history, eventually worked myself up to roughly 35 hours a week, a set of keys to the store and the responsibility of opening and closing nearly every Saturday night/Sunday morning.
I’m proud of the fact that while working nearly full time I was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA among the courses in my major. I graduated Western with honors and was selected as the “Outstanding Senior” of 2007, which, as the name implies, is awarded to one Senior every year.
The highlights of my professional career can be seen on LinkedIn so I won’t rehash them here. What I will add, though, is that in late 2015 I voluntarily stepped down from my position as manager which I had held officially for the previous two years and unofficially for the two before that. The exact details behind the move are best discussed over beers, however the primary reason was that I don’t feel that I’m done growing technically and therefore didn’t want to start down a managerial path from which I couldn’t easily return.
I’m currently eagerly awaiting my next professional challenge while using some of my reclaimed free time to get back to what I love – programming.