20 December 2018
Before Gaslight: Stories about how we landed, and why we're here to stay ...
We all have a backstory, and as far as the Gaslight team goes, our paths are quite non traditional. So many came from surprising backgrounds, are in their second career, or were attracted to Gaslight for the apprenticeship program. This is one characteristic that makes us so unique, and a great place to work. During a team lunch we passed around a microphone and shared Before Gaslight stories, so here’s a quick read on some of our Gaslighters.
I grew up in Kentucky with dreams of joining the military and traveling, so I joined the Army National Guard to go through college at the same time. I cracked my knee in half playing paintball, which quickly ended that dream. I finished my undergrad in homeland security and criminal justice, considered a career in law enforcement, but ended up in Cincinnati working in a bank security operations center (when a bank gets robbed we were the ones that got alerted, pulled the camera feeds and went from there). I later finished my graduate degree in occupational safety and worked in oil and gas refining, which was dangerous and exciting stuff. After a few safety jobs and a few years, I wanted to pick up a new hobby that was challenging yet flexible. I decided to learn how to code, which I soon developed a passion for. As I was considering a career change I learned about the apprenticeship program, which ultimately led to a full-time position as a developer at Gaslight.
I ended up with a degree in finance that I never used, and decided I wanted to see the world. So I got a crazy idea that I was going to move to Japan for a year and become fluent, then go to law school. I ended up staying for 8 years – a couple years teaching English and the rest of the time as a translator. I was obsessed with learning Japanese and wanted my students to feel the same way about English. Their learning process was strenuous so I thought oh, this could be an app and this app would also be useful for my translating jobs. In my research I happened to come across a YouTube video of Super Chris talking on integrating a Phoenix server-side app with an Angular 2 front-end app, and he introduced the Gaslight apprenticeship program offered in my hometown. My wife and I packed up and today I am a developer at Gaslight, funny how life works.
I went to school for biological sciences and worked in a hospital lab. I would look at blood under a microscope to identify cancer cells, and troubleshoot expensive machines. After seeing the restrictions that come with the industry, I wanted to change careers without going back to college. I started a web development bootcamp hoping to find something that was more of a vocation instead of a career. I moved to Cincinnati with my partner who started med school at UC, and caught wind of the apprenticeship program through meetups hosted at Gaslight.
I went to school to be an artist, and starting working as an accountant at the Cincinnati Art Museum to get my foot in the door with the art community. I did the same with events at the CAC and the ballet so I could always have my heart close to the arts. After working the industry I was looking for a bit more freedom, so I opened my own art gallery and sold my paintings. During that time, my brother in law was working for Gaslight and they hired me to execute a two day conference. The discussion turned into ways to keep me on - and I think I’ve done almost every job there is at Gaslight since!
I started programming in third or fourth grade actually, we had Microsoft front page and I learned HTML and CSS and was just fascinated. My dad’s company does software stuff and I went in one day to teach his staff how to do HTML, in fourth grade! I also made websites for my high school band and things like that on the side, since we didn’t have classes specific to programming offered. At first, I didn’t want my hobby to be my career, but I did dot net internships in college and ended up doing remote development. It was great work but eventually I decided I was ready to get into an office setting with people. I always look forward to the coffee Friday meetup we host weekly to stay plugged in.
I’ve always been a dabbler with a short attention span. Remember the TI-84 calculators that games on them? I actually programmed one to play in class when I was younger. I headed to college planning to major in forensics and got plugged into music with my church, so I thought maybe I would want to be a worship leader. So I switched to study music and jumped around in different principles within, but finished with a biblical studies degree. As it came time to job search, a friend suggested programming and I came across Ruby, learned HTML, JS and all of it and started out doing website work for a small marketing firm. I caught wind of an integrated apprenticeship program and knew there was nothing better.
I’ve lived in several cities, and went to UC for early childhood education because I was always involved in different camps and loved kids. When I realized it was 30 against one in that situation, I started over in a BFA program that took 5 years at NKU. My internship was with a packaging design company and I did a lot for the beer industry. I then worked as a freelancer in the branding industry and did the same kind of thing for Ballpark Hot Dogs! My friend connected me to a job in web design, and with little experience I got the position and learned as I went. About a year later a coworker sent me a design job at Gaslight, and I came across their design manager in a facebook group who posted the position too. We connected and got lemonade to kick off the interview process, and now we celebrate “lemonade day” every year!
I went back to UC for a CS degree and was working as a mechanic for Delta part time. For my class project I had made a physician residence attendance tracking application they were able to use to timestamp and generate reports, and was then fortunate enough to be hired at Children’s Hospital as a 1099 and setting up infrastructure for them. I was later hired full time and a coworker told me about an agile software Meetup hosted at the hospital, there I met Chris Nelson, Doug Alcorn and a few other fellas. This was before the world of social media - but all of these users groups started popping up and rails was announced to the world, I became obsessed. Life took me through a few other jobs but I remained connected to these colleagues because we shared a passion for spreading agile development techniques to improve the lives of developers and increase the value captured by businesses. Our small group established Gaslight in 2009 and today we stand with nearly 50 employees.
So this apprenticeship program … is truly one of a kind. Not only does it offer an accelerated path, but integration into a real client project that gives them the option to hire full-time after. Ready to recruit fresh talent, or join us as an apprentice? Everything you need to know is right here.