Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Short Recap of my Career Thus Far


  • 1984, I left the construction world, and playing in bands, for a job as a "apprentice drafstman" (board drafting, Mylar, Sepia and vellum).  I recall lettering 20 ANSI-F title sheets entirely by hand per week for several months on end (notes, references, materials, titleing, very little white space left).  My fingers had permanent dents from holding the mechanical pencils.
  • In 1987 after switching jobs a few times (still drafting) I was dunked into building 3D shipboard engine room models using Computervision CADDS 4X.  I worked on that platform for several years.
  • In 1990, I was sent to training on Intergraph EMS and VDS and worked on that for almost a year.
  • I was sent to training on Bentley Microstation, but picked up a few books and taught myself AutoCAD R10 by staying late at work and sneaking into the AutoCAD drafting room.
  • After convincing the CAD dept manager I could work on AutoCAD, I was moved into the AutoCAD group on R11.  The U.S. Navy had just issued an official approval for using AutoCAD to make title sheets and bills of material "only".  All detail design work was still required to be done by hand (plastic lead on frosted mylar sheets).
  • In 1992*, the U.S. Navy finally issued an official allowance for AutoCAD detail design work for all contracts.
  • After months of struggling with bugs in a custom add-on written in AutoLISP and ADS for our company (by a west-coast employee), I decided to learn AutoLISP and add my own workarounds.  I picked up a few books, but the best was "AutoLISP Programming by Example" by Gene Straka.  One of the best heads-down teach-yourself books I've ever owned.
  • In 1994 I wrote my own 2D piping system for AutoCAD R12.  It grew into an HVAC system, and eventually into electrical and structural as well.
  • In 1996, I was hired by a large shipyard to lead their first AutoCAD implementation.  It was (gulp!) AutoCAD R13 running on Windows NT 3.51.  It was a very rough experience, but we somehow got it working.  I was also introduced to Brett Rivers, who introduced me to SMS 2.0 and was generous enough to tutor me on how it works and how to use it for deploying AutoCAD and custom add-ons to roughly 3,000 desktops.  That eventually grew to 14,000 desktops.
  • In December 1999, I graduated from Christopher Newport Univsersity with my BS in Information Science. 
  • In February 2000, I was hired by an engineering firm to build a new shipbuilding CAD suite on top of AutoCAD 2000, and consolidate their standalone licensing under AdLM (prior to FlexLM).  That moved me into license management, including contracts, support, and auditing.
  • By 2002 I was on version 2.0 of the new CAD system and had enlisted three team mates to help build out more functionality and features.  We joined the Autodesk Developer Network and the alpha "early adopter" program:  Pinetop, Tahoe, Banff, Kirkland, Red Deer, Neo, Rio (I left ADN before Postrio)
  • By 2002 I had been building a lab to prepare for deploying SMS 2003 when the lead for our upcoming NT4 to Win2K Active Directory migration left.  I was asked to take over the project lead.  I ran into a friend who worked at Microsoft who asked if I wanted to join on Windows Server 2003 pre-beta and Microsoft Software Updates Services (SUS).
  • March 2003 we completed our migration to Windows Server 2003 and implemented WSUS 2.0 soon after.  SMS 2003 was held back to test the forthcoming SCCM (beta program).  I began working with ASP, SQL Server, and Windows scripting more and more to automate monitoring and reporting.
  • 2003 I released "The Visual LISP Developer's Bible, 2003 Edition"
  • By June 2004 I was now wearing three distinct hats:  Active Directory Administration, CAD Administration, and CAD software development.  By 2006 I had offloaded my CAD software development duties to the team with only occasional involvement.  I was now focused on software deployment, patch management, auditing, monitoring and alerts, and SOX compliance.
  • In Sept 2007, our company imploded when our CEO decided to fuck us all and leave with a smile.
  • I was hired by a Microsoft partner and trained on MDOP, Softgrid (App-V) and doing odds-and-ends Windows engineering work for various small businesses.  I also deployed a full SCCM 2007 site for a city government, which had been a while for me, but it nonetheless went very well.  The biggest impact this had on me was getting my head into non-enterprise environments.  Until now, I had only worked in larger corporate environments with teams devoted to each role.  Now it was about individual services to small customers.  I learned 10x in only a few months.
  • After a few months the economy tanked (early 2008), and we were laid off.  I was out looking for a job for several months, but nobody was hiring.  I put food on the table by building web sites for various small customers, and helping a law firm with patent application drawings.
  • In June 2008 I was hired back at a former employer and taught the fine art of software repackaging to facilitate mass deployment (by now 18,000 computers, I think?).  Wise Package Studio and Wise Script.  I was also tossed back into FlexLM management and FlexNet Manager (which is pretty interesting).
  • In July 2010 I was hired by a consulting firm and now I combine a lot of the above (sans CAD work) into a mash-up of projects and tasks:
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 management
    • Windows 7 deployment and customization
    • ASP / SQL Server / AD systems automation
    • FlexLM license services
    • Autodesk deployment builds and distribution
    • Repackaging with Wise Package Studio and InstallShield AdminStudio
    • Scripting with VBscript, CMD and PowerShell
    • SCCM 2007 process automation and custom reporting
  • In 2010 I released more books, and again in 2011
  • I have no idea why I'm bothering to type this.  It ultimately means nothing to anyone unless they're spilling food on my resume.  I guess the interesting part, to me anyway, is how my ball has bounced in a very unpredictable pattern.  Looking back, I can see the pattern emerge.  But from any one point along the way there was no discernible pattern or path to be seen.  I have learned from some of the brightest and most interesting people I've ever known, and am grateful and humble to having had those opportunities.  Every job change has been tough to handle since I hate parting ways with good people, but I've somehow managed to keep finding incredible people to continue learning.  If I had millions of dollars, I would love to be able to hire everyone I've known to build a "super team" and make incredible things happen.  I doubt that will become reality, but it would be cool.  I have no idea where my ball will bounce next, or if it will roll in front of a bus and that'll be the end of it.  One day at a time.

* I may be off a bit here, but it was somewhere between 1990 and 1992 as best as I can recall.
Post a Comment