Back in 2004, I was attending grad school the University of Pittsburgh, working on my PhD in Computer Science focusing on Artificial Intelligence. I had aspirations of becoming a professor and helping to groom the next generation of CS majors. However, I grew disillusioned with the heavy focus on theoretical Computer Science, and the lack of focus on teaching undergrads that I found at a larger school (I had completed my Bachelors in Computer Science at Hiram College and graduated with just over 200 students from all majors), and decided to leave the PhD program, wrap up my Master’s degree requirements and seek a job where I could apply what I had learned.
While searching for a job that would be flexible enough to accommodate the last of my coursework, I landed a job at UPMC, the largest medical conglomerate in Pittsburgh, working with a customized data collection and reporting application for a research study focused on childhood behavior disorders. Having almost no experience with web-base application languages (I had seen a few pages of PHP previously, but not much), I was thrust into ColdFusion MX 7 and MS SQL to learn what was already in place. With ColdFusion being so easy to learn, I picked up things quickly, and I got some pointers from the other developers. I really enjoyed working with ColdFusion and the ease with which things came together and simplicity when reading the code (for the most part). Within 6 months, I had studied for and passed my ColdFusion MX 7 Developer certification and was working to improve the application I was working with.
However, some time later I had been presented an opportunity to take a job as a MS SQL DBA at a significant raise, and I chose to pursue it. Unfortunately, I found several months later that the job and I were not a great fit for a number of reasons, and I got back into ColdFusion development.
Now a Product Manager/Team Lead/Senior Software Developer, I continue to work with ColdFusion today, this time with Oracle PL/SQL databases, in order to support supply chain management software for the steel industry (OpenTrac). The work we do is by no means flashy, but it is extremely functional and helps to fill a gap that the industry has struggled with for a number of years, and our customers have come to rely upon us for. And to me, that’s important; I help people get stuff done, and do it more efficiently than they had in the past. And ColdFusion helps me to do that for them!