WITH MORE THAN 40 YEARS OF PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AS A SOFTWARE DEVELOPER, I HAVE MUCH TO OFFER TO TECHNOLOGY CLIENTS
English for Speakers of Other Languages
CELTA CERTIFICATE IN KYIV, UKRAINE
I HAVE BEEN TUTORING STUDENTS IN COMPUTER SCIENCE FOR MORE THAN FOUR DECADES
AUTHOR OF MANY SHORT STORIES CURRENTLY WORKING ON A TRAVEL BOOK
I was born curious. My curiosity has always been deep and broad. As a child, I would spend the day exploring and enriching my mind. Children had more freedom then. I would often go out exploring on my own, trekking through woods, swamps, down railway tracks, through neighborhoods, often alone, and always looking to find something new and interesting.
When I was not out exploring, I spent my time in libraries reading everything I could find. I would arrive to read about one topic and find myself reading about everything related to that topic, and topics related to those. At home, I would read the encyclopedia, one volume after another, until there were no more.
As a suburban American child, I had little exposure to other languages, until I heard my babysitter studying French. My mind was blown. I had never heard another language before and felt inspired to learn as many as I could. I went on to study German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Icelandic, and some Japanese. I admit not becoming fluent in any of these, except for Spanish, but I can get by in German, Spanish, and Russian too.
My father was an engineer. He had built his own shortwave radios and ham radio transponders. As a child, he gifted me his shortwave radio, which I still possess. I loved the warm glow of its tubes, and I would spend my evenings listening to foreign broadcasts, from Germany, the United Kingdom, the USSR, Cuba, and many other countries. I enjoyed the conflicting reporting on world events and learned to triangulate, as best I could, the truth between them.
Like my father, I also built radios as a child, only by then, transistors had replaced tubes. I was fascinated with science. I owned a powerful home telescope and would spend many a frigid night gazing at the stars and other planets. Soon, I took up model rocketry as a hobby and became an expert in building and launching rockets.
I joined the Civil Air Patrol as a child, dabbled in military interests, and even had occasion to take a few flying lessons. My involvement in Civil Air Patrol involved spending time on military bases and even to going to Washington, D.C. during President Jimmy Carter’s election, as a child of 14 years old. My contact with military organizations and discipline convinced me that a military career would not be for me, so I abandoned my childhood dream of going to the Air Force Academy and looked for a new direction.
At University, a stumbled into a computer programming class and fell in love with programming. My first course employed FORTRAN as a programming language. I wrote code on punch cards!
Next, I went on to BASIC, C, Assembly Language, Pascal, Prolog, and LISP programming. I studied Artificial Intelligence. I also studied Philosophy and Russian. For a time, I found myself torn between Computer Science and Philosophy, but when I discovered that Philosophy of Mind existed, I found a harmony between my two interests: Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy of Mind. I decided to earn my Computer Science degree first and then work on my Philosophy degree later, while working as a computer scientist. I stayed true to that path and earned my Philosophy degree ten years later. Along the path to my Philosophy degree, I also found time to study Linguistics, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Neuroscience, Psychology, and the Spanish language.
The first decade of my professional career was dedicated primarily to work in AI. Like all technologies, AI hit a slump and I went onto other areas of software development: simulation, compilers, business applications, internet, etc.
My career has been long, and I’ve hit some bumps along the way, but when things were not going the way that I had wished, I always found something else that excited me. Along the way, I’ve taught Computer Programming and I’ve taught Ethics at a college; I’ve tutored hundreds of students in Computer Science, I perfected my Spanish language skills, and I’ve also done work as a technical writer. In the end, I’ve usually come back to software development, often in ways related to my other interests, such as educational software and natural language processing.
As my industry evolved, so did the structure of our offices. I’ve always most enjoyed working in silence. As employers moved from offices, to cubicles, and then to open office plans, I found the working environment less conducive to productivity. Along the way, my father and brother passed away and I came to realize that life is short. I decided to leave the office and began to work remotely, sometimes from other countries. Unlike the fabled digital nomads featured in magazines, I immediately recognized that work cannot be a side activity that you do while traveling. Work must always be the primary activity. Working from different locations gives you the opportunity to explore new places on weekends, but it does not give you license to work while doing other things. I built my travel around work, not my work around travel. Instead of hopping from place to place, I found it best to pick a place, stay in one location for months at a time, work from a dedicated home office, and explore on weekends. When the time was right, I would change to another location and repeat. This has served me well for almost 10 years now.
I’ve lived, worked, and traveled in more than 50 countries. I’ve been to countries at peace and at war. I’ve around the Earth twice. I did this all on my own dime and as a solo traveler. I made friends around the world and spent much of time in places that most people cannot find on a map. I’ve walked on the Artic Ocean, visited many deserts, and learned more about the world than any book could possibly teach me.
I’ve arrived at the point where I think I’ve learned most of what there is to learn about humanity. It is time for me to settle down again, my me and my cat, and apply what I have learned along the way.