B.S. 1996 Mechanical Engineering, 2000 Computer Science
I am a native-born Californian. I grew up in Los Angeles, earning my two B.S. degrees, Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering, at CSUN. I started off as a Mechanical Engineer, graduating in spring of 1996. But after six months on the field, I decided that it was not for me. So, I went back to CSUN to earn my degree in Computer Science. Close to the end of my term at CSUN, that’s when my career took off.
I started my career about 1 year before I graduated from CSUN in spring of 2000. I had a friend who knew a professor who needed someone to teach HTML to students in a workshop during the weekdays. So, I started off teaching students, and surprisingly faculty, how to create web sites.
It was about October of 1999 when I went to a career fair and a supervisor was looking to hire a student to create web sites at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). I thought to myself that this would be a great opportunity to show what I can do since I taught part time to students how to make web sites. Well, that was an important decision that changed my life.
After the interview, three months later, I was offered a position to work as an academic part time student employee at JPL. I was given the opportunity to understand the inner workings of how websites and web applications were built. It was no easy task, as I was thrown into important projects almost immediately. I kept asking questions to things such as how to code, how to write documentation, how procedures work around there, and so on. After I graduated with a degree in Computer Science, I worked full-time, taking on projects left and right. And it hasn’t stopped ever since.
A year went by, and I soon became a junior system administrator to the group that I was working with. I was given more responsibility than I could imagine. Another year went by, and as the system administrator I was working for retired, I was given the opportunity to become the system administrator. This was all in addition to the web work I already had. Initially, I was the one asking questions on how to do things. Now, they come to me for questions.
Within the last year, I have been put into managerial positions that exposed me to a better understanding of how projects are managed. It’s quite different from just simply coding. Timelines, budgets, and resources were things I didn’t truly comprehend until I was brought into it. There were times when I preferred to be a programmer rather than a manager, but the experience was, and still is, invaluable.
I’ve been working for JPL for the last 5 years, learning new things as I go. I’ve been exposed to new technologies related to the internet, and applying those technologies for applications used throughout the facility. HTML, Flash, ASP, Coldfusion, SQL Server, Oracle, the list goes on and on for the technologies that were exposed to me, and that I actually applied those technologies in real-world problems. It has been a rollercoaster that never ends.
The opinions and/or statements expressed in this document are of my own and do not reflect those of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.