What I Learned: Working at Friend Lumber during high school was great - I had flexible hours, good pay (comparitively to other high school students) and I was well liked and respected by the more senior employees. I learned a lot more about how a business is run through putting together cashier drawers, learning the order-po-invoice process, understanding vendor relations and having a much greater exposure to business software.
What I Learned:
Essentially, a lot. I was already very adept at desktop support with Windows and server support came naturally. I now have an extensive working understanding of networking technologies both on a hardware and software level.
In addition to supporting desktop and server OS's and traditional office suite software (Microsoft Office 2000/2003/2007), I was responsible for several design and estimation programs, including working interfaces between those applications
and legacy ERP software and interfacing with vendors through EDI systems.
I also developed the company website through several iterations, including installing a web server internally to provide real-time product data to the website as well as a custom build customer interface showing account information in real-time. It is worth noting that while the code for the previous two features does still reside on the server, neither are currently implemented on the company's website.
Which leads to some important lessons I learned from my years as Friend Lumber Company's IT Director. While a store manager at the time and myself did work to bring the company "in to the twenty-first century" successfully on many issues - including switching from dot-matrix printers to laser printers with custom build dynamic layouts, introducing electronic document management and mobilizing our salesforce - there are certain boundries in technology, certain adament feelings about traditional business practices (read: oldschool), that are difficult to convince management to break away from.
What I Learned: I have worked on several web projects with BluePanda over the past year, including a custom social network built on PHP with lots of AJAX UI features. Putting together a social network from scratch was an invaluable excersize and working with the JQuery framework on the UI caused me to really fall in love with it over other frameworks that I had used in the past.
What I Learned:
Working at Chitika has been a phenomenal experience. Chitika is a very high-pace, high-enthusiasm environment, akin to Silicon Valley startup. I've learned new hard skills including developing my technical prowess with regard to both software development as well as system administration. Learning within a culture that encourages clever solutions to complex problems has been refreshing and very rewarding.
I have also been able to develop my business skills, having a profficiency for managing and developing relationships with business partners. In fact, the number one reason I have been able to thrive at Chitika is the fact that the company atmosphere allows for me to use both my technical abilities as well as my business prowess.
To add value to the company I work for, as well as myself. I intend to do this by finding an environment I can thrive in by excersizing and developing all aspects of my skill set, both technical and business oriented. It is my belief that when I can apply both sides of this equation, I have a lot to offer to others and feel fullfilled myself.