Patterns, new and old

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I didn’t even learn about the existence of design patterns until I started work. My personal path to becoming a Software Development Engineer, and now Chief Technology Officer here at Prophetic Sky, has been non-traditional in that sense. I started early, skipped the traditional college route, and went straight to task on changing the world.

I’ll let you know how that turns out.

I started at a small start-up, working on weather data. As it turns out, this was the ideal pot of proverbial boiling water to throw me in to. As a small company, there was no infrastructure established, so I learned first hand a breadth of responsibilities: from database design, to version control, to product distribution, to application development, to documentation, to customer support. Every technological decision was either made by me, or informed by me — which meant I needed to become informed in a variety of technologies and solutions very rapidly. Since we were working with terrabytes of fresh data updated daily, the solutions had to be scalable, fast, efficient, and robust.

I failed. Don’t get me wrong; many of my solutions were powerful and scalable, but there was no way a programmer fresh out of school was going to take on that much responsibility and nail it. (Ok, perhaps one of you could/did/would, and I stand humbled). However, with each failure, I saw immediately the repercussions and directly took the blame responsibility. And so I moved on to develop new systems, systems that didn’t have the old problems but instead were new, bright, shiny, and had a whole host of completely original problems.

Still, though, I learned quickly. I learned that the best way to learn is to fail at trying. Or, perhaps that’s the second best way to learn. The best is probably to watch other people fail.

So, I’m here to provide you with the best way to learn. I’ll tell you how I’ve failed, I’ll explain to you what I learned, and I’ll show you how an indomitable spirit can rise and solve the greatest problem of them all.

Or, perhaps I simply like the word ‘indomitable’.

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