Bending To My Will

Code.  Love it or love it.I love to program.

OK, that’s not entirely true.  What I love to do is solve problems, and I’m especially fond of that when it lets me stretch my programming fingers to make things work better.

Yes, I am a geek.

I love to take the high-level business requirements, so to speak, help guide the discussion to the best answer and then find the best resources to get the solution done (whether that’s me or someone else).

For example, I’m doing some side programming projects.  I have a client in New Jersey I’m working with that wanted to plug in a little bit of information, have some validation done on it and print out some charts.  We talked about it and determined that a basic Excel-based database app was the way to go.  Plug in the pertinent sales information and let the system figure out the rest and spit out some nice charts.  We’re talking easy – maybe a two-hour project – but it was fun and made me a little money on the side.

What I love, specifically, is bending Excel to my will – building complex analysis models, using Excel as a front-end to model/analyze/input data and have it talk to Access behind the scenes, or just plain coding custom functions to make everyday tasks easier.  That’s the fun stuff I like and the stuff I enjoyed doing when I was consulting part-time for small businesses (as part of PC Business Solutions and First Peter Consulting).

I’m expanding that – I’ve picked up some Ruby, Rails and R; I also have RSpec and C# waiting in the wings for me to finish up my beginning-of-the-year organization/evaluation stuff.  My goal is that by the end of January I’ve done at least a dozen programming projects and have built a Rails app to streamline the back-end of one of the businesses I’m a partner in (Spicy or Mild).  Some of this is just personal development – I’m a huge fan of continuous learning – but there’s also a practical aspect to it because some languages are better served for certain applications than others (R is great for charting, but you’re probably not building a game on it), and occasionally I’ll find a tip/trick/approach in one that I can apply to others.

Is this a full-time gig for me?  Don’t know; right now I’m still in my decompressing stage so I don’t know what the future holds.  But I certainly have the experience, capability and tools; the question is whether that’s what I want to do day-in, day-out.

(post image courtesy of Engineering The Gap)

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