Strengths and Skills

Here are some strengths and skills that I am either experienced with, feel strongly about, or otherwise have at the forefront of my mind at this time. This is not an exhaustive list; head over to my CV for that.

This is where a good portion of my programming experience lies. I have written many custom web applications for my academic library in PHP and done extensive customizations in Drupal using PHP. I've also written stand-alone PHP scripts that perform tasks such as parsing and displaying posts in an RSS feed, parsing XML for global text edits, and importing CSV files into a MySQL database. Recently, I implemented a 'permalink' system for my academic library's electronic database resources, which enables us to use a unique, local link for our databases throughout our web presence. Actual vendor links are maintained in a central MySQL database, allowing us to make vendor URL changes in one place and have it propagate throughout our web presence. PHP may not be the darling of the programming world right now, but it can still be a useful tool!
I have been called a Drupal Ninja. I like Drupal because you can make it as simple or as complex as you need to for the project at hand. I have built several Drupal sites, both for my academic library and outside of work. The types of Drupal projects I have worked on include: library intranet (general), library intranet (Travel Request System), statewide library consortium site, library digital projects/collections, and a photography showcase site. I have created custom themes (mostly subthemes of base themes such as Zen), written small custom modules, and made other extensive customizations through contributed modules. Drush is a must for managing Drupal installations, though I know I don't use it to its fullest potential. I also have experience with multi-site installations.
Ruby on Rails
My experience with Rails is an interesting one (at least to me!). I was somewhat 'thrown into the deep end' with a recent Rails project that needed extensive customizations after being initially built by an outside contractor. I had never worked with Ruby or Rails before, so I had a lot of learning to do, and quickly! ( was a lifesaver.) Rails requires a totally different way of thinking, and it's a challenge that I have enjoyed tackling. I am eager to implement a new Rails project from scratch to see just how much I have learned so far.
Ah, version control. We went for so long without it at my workplace that I am really appreciative of it now! Not only do we have our own installation of git, but we also recently began making use of Github for certain projects. I use a mix of command line (Mac, Win) and client software (Win, Git Extensions) to interact with git.
Productivity Tools
I try to operate with as little paper as possible. Thus, I am always on the lookout for tools that will help me stay on track with everything that I need to do. Currently, I'm enamored with the following tools:
  • Evernote: Evernote is my extended brain. All work notes go in here. This makes me extremely valuable at committee/team meetings! I take notes at all meetings (and easily share with attendees as needed using Evernote's public link capabilities). I document my projects so I remember what I did. I make cheatsheets for code I use frequently, but not frequently enough to commit to memory. Outside of work, I have scanned and organized various sets of records for easy reference, especially on the go (car maintenance records, veterinarian records for our pets). I credit this Lifehacker article with inspiring my Evernote habit.
  • Trello: Trello is great for keeping projects on track and documented. I have used it with coworkers to assign and document project tasks. I have used it with my household members to organize a move, prioritize major purchases, and keep our grocery lists organized and accessible on the go. It is free, fast, intuitive to use, and comes with great mobile apps. I co-presented a workshop at work on the benefits of using Trello for project management.
  • Pinboard: I have the almost-fall of delicious to thank for introducing me to Pinboard. Pinboard is 'bookmarking for introverts', which is perfect for me. I need a bookmarking site that is fast as lightning, simple, and does the job of allowing me to organize my bookmarks via tags. Pinboard does just that. Bonus: It is integrated into many of my favorite apps, so I use it as my 'read it later' tool as well.
  • Sublime Text 3: My code editor of choice. So many packages are available for pretty much any task you need. Customizations via settings are seemingly endless. My heart sings for all settings being in json files.
  • Dropbox, Google Drive, Box: The usual cloud storage suspects. How did we ever live without them? My choice of which to use for a given task is purely habit-based at this point. I think my current favorite use of cloud storage is syncing my Sublime Text settings files to Dropbox so that they are accessible from multiple computers.
My memory is terrible. I document most everything these days, both at work and at home, for this reason. For work projects, I also want others to know what I did and why. I am the official note-taker for one of my committees, and an unofficial note-taker in all other settings. Taking copious notes during conferences, workshops, and training sessions not only helps me remember what was discussed, but also occupies some part of my brain that typically tends toward wandering, which helps me stay focused. I use Evernote (surprise!) for the majority of my documentation, at least initially.
My love of math, logic, and problem-solving means I get along very well with spreadsheets. I have been tapped by multiple groups at work to help organize statistics and create complicated spreadsheets to accompany said statistics.