Brenton Holswich

Software Developer at Big Bear Software

Brenton Holswich

Software Developer at Big Bear Software

Building out my blog

TLDR;

A little about me and my motivations, where I want to be and technology that interests me.

Let's do this

Today, I am doing what I have never done before, deploying a site that is so unpolished it's almost crazy.

I have been thinking about this for a while. I decided it was time for me to start documenting my learnings, for personal reference at a later date and to help anyone facing similar challenges.

My day job consists of working on web apps with C# back end and Angular / React front end. The company I work for is a solutions focused business. We enable our clients to do what they need to do business wise while we handle the technical side. Our team is a mix of software and embedded programmers.

I have worked on apps that have been funded as true startups. Our goal is not to prevent clients from being able to leave us, but instead to help them achieve just that.

Me

My interest in technology

A little about my story, I am a computer hobbyist. I remember installing my first upgrade to the family computer. A 20GB hard drive that set us back over $200. Since then I have built my own PCs and have had a fascination with technology ever since. I can say that I am not a consumer "until tech is involved" and then I have to fight my emotion on wants vs needs.

My taste for programming

I worked as a projectionist at a movie theatre chain in Australia. Always coming up with ideas weekly (I wanted to make it as an Entrepreneur). One idea led me down a path. In essence it was to provide a touch screen UI where patrons of the cinema would be able to view trailers, reviews and purchase tickets for movies. This was back in 2008 (years before the kiosk setup was a thing) and I was convinced that this would work.

I had a couple of friends who were in web development and Flash development. I figured my friend who could program in Flash could build out a basic but pleasing UI for the touch screens and my other friend could build out a website to handle the online version.

Long story short, it went no where - however, I sort of hovered around my friends while working on it and started to become fascinated with the idea of writing some "code" that could run even while I was asleep. I got a vicious thirst for understanding it on a deeper level. On any given day you could look at my browser history and you would see a lot of wikipedia articles and youtube videos on HTML and XML and PHP. Wikipedia was dangerous as I would "open in new tab" every link on the current page I was reading and the next and so on. I was hooked.

My passion / hobby blossomed

I followed basic tutorials and started to build out websites for business' I worked for. I applied to local web development companies and didn't really get anywhere. I didn't have the relevant experience and I may of sounded like more work for them when I said I would work for free (to get the experience). All job listings stated that they were looking for computer science graduates or 3+ years of experience. This stopped me, I wish it hadn't but it did. It stayed my hobby but I did not pursue it as a career. I figured I would apply to uni and do the course and get a job. Only trouble was I was now in Canada and was on a working Visa which meant I couldn't apply to school.

Eventually I got Permanent Residence in Canada but due to being so busy with work I couldn't justify heading off to University full time and adding the extra stress of money to my relationship with my now wife. So I put it on hold...

One day I was chatting with an aquaintance who is now a good friend of mine and talking about programming languages and what he does for work and what not. He mentioned that a co worker of his had done a web development bootcamp which gave him a leg up into the career space. I started at Lighthouse Labs and within 3 months had finished the 9 week bootcamp.

One of the best things I have ever done for jump starting my professional career. My previous jobs were customer service related from things like an ice cream shop, pet shop, boat rentals and bartending. I was now ready to enter the work force.

Over the previous eight years I had built up my knowledge with PHP and JavaScript and realised that I enjoyed JS far too much once I understood some of its design. The bootcamp focused mainly on JavaScript and it helped me get a deeper understanding of how it works. It also introduced me to some lifelong friends and enabled me to find my passion in helping others understand things.

I joined a company that specialised in C# .NET solutions (my current employer). I had done some work on Java through a couple of books I owned. This made C# familiar but at the same time foreign enough to get me to do a deep dive into it.

So, what now?

My plans for the future are deepening my understanding of micro services and machine learning. I want to work with clojure as I have found I really appreciate Pure Functional Programming concepts (through JS libraries) and go - as some of the tools I like to use are built with it and it is a clean readable language. As far as DB technologies are concerned I am fascinated with Graph Databases and really see their potential.

My motivations

I love learning. I love teaching / sharing.