I grew up in a small town and took the fastest way out that I could, so I joined the Navy in 2002, right after High School graduation. I spent over 5 years serving as an Aviation Structural Mechanic making it to the rank of E-5. I also earned my Aircrew wings as a Loadmaster on the C-130 Hercules.
After a year and a half tour in Iraq, I decided not to re-up my contract. I moved to Phoenix, AZ where I attended Universal Technical Institute where I became certified Ford mechanic in all areas, ASE certified in Automotive electronics, and BMW certified technician.
I worked with the technical engineers a lot during my time at BMW. Diagnosing the hundreds of computer systems on the cars. At some point I realized that I wanted to fix the problem at the source. I wanted to write software. So, I signed up to attend University of Phoenix online while maintaining my position as one of the top 5 highest producing service technicians at the central Phoenix BMW dealership (Chapman BMW on Camelback).
I was able to test out of about half of my required credits in order to speed things up (and save me some money) and, little over 2 years later, graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's in Computer Science.
I got my first software job at a place that was barely staying afloat at the time. I was working in a dimly lit room with a group of 6 senior developers. The work was a constant bug battle and ad-hoc reporting. Then, they hired a new CIO who quickly became my mentor. He taught me a lot about how software should be written, how software shops should be run, and worked with me to solidify those principles.
Ever since then, I have been on a mission to learn everything I can to become the Software Craftsman that he would talk about. Someone who truly cares about good design, and not just "getting it out the door". I pay that knowledge and experience forward every chance I get when someone has a question, when I present on a topic, or start at a new company.