I’m self-taught. For the most part, I have always enjoyed teaching myself and thrive with self-learning. I taught myself how to cook, to play guitar, to play bass. I taught myself programming. Thankfully, we live in a world full of tutorials and books – where the whole of human knowledge is on the web. But – let’s take a step back in time.
Sunday, June 4th
The year is 1989 – the date is June 4th, the first Sunday of June. In China, Tiananmen Square is violently raided by troops and security police. In America, Dik Browne dies (coincidentally, Hi & Lois, and Hagar the Horrible will become my favorite comic strips). In Europe, Solidarity holds their first free parliamentary election – kicking off the Autumn of Nations.
In a hospital in the Dominican Republic, I am born.
I came to the United States shortly after – New York to be exact, settling in the Bronx. When I reached schooling age, I attended local public schools (PS 130, MS 52/302) – and thrived in the areas of math and science. In 2001, shortly before the Twin Towers fell, I graduated elementary school. In 2004, I graduated valedictorian in 8th grade from MS 52 (now, MS 302) – thank you Mr. Franco. It was the same middle school Colin Powell attended, which lent an air of infinite possibility, considering he was the Secretary of State at the time.
I had applied to plenty of high schools – accepted by all of them. I ended up going to FLAGS (Foreign Language Academy of Global Studies). Quite sadly, it closed in 2016. Here I found a newfound passion for computers – and gained respect for the difficulties of advanced math – having failed quite a few math classes, I was humbled. In my freshman year, I – along with a classmate – founded a rock band: Broken Links. This would later go on to be named Unholy Thirst and record a total of 6 tracks.
In my senior year, I became student body president in my Junior year after giving a rousing speech. In my senior year, I was part of the service club, AV club, and yearbook club. After four years of French at FLAGS, I was fluent – though today my skills are at best conversational. I am fluent in Spanish and English – the latter being my primary language.
With plans to go into a computer science career, I applied to St. John’s University – finding their Computer Science program one of the strongest in the area at the time. However, I ended up dropping out after my first semester due to the financial burden (a scholarship took care of 50% of my tuition, the rest would have to be private loans). However, perseverance being the key to success – I utilized the computer science and programming books I had bought for school and set out to teach myself more.
Six months later – I was hired by LMG digitalMedia as a PHP web developer. I had never used PHP.
During my years as a web developer and systems administrator, I’ve been tasked with a myriad of responsibilities. Architecture, development, maintenance, schema planning, and implementation. My skills range from extensive knowledge of PHP, Python, HTML/CSS/JS, and MySQL – to cursory knowledge of C++, Golang, Scala, Java, et al. I am known for the breadth of my knowledge, and the ability to execute decisions based on that knowledge.
After LMGdM, I was hired at Touro College as a developer and sysadmin. I was part of the team that redeveloped their web infrastructure. After almost 4 years there, I was hired at Borderfree – which was later acquired by Pitney Bowes.
I love to tinker with electronics. I love to figure out how things work, to take them apart and put them back together again. The one thing I never expected was to see the same behavior exhibited by my daughter. Born on a cool Tuesday afternoon in May at 3:28 pm at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center on Manhattans Upper East Side, Amber Hope is my little munchkin. I had been with my wife – Kate, for a few years before we decided it was the right time to have a child.
It’s a funny thing, watching someone exhibit the same traits you do – but it’s rewarding in that you can help them and teach them what you already know. Her quick acceptance and usage of smartphones, tablets, and computers, as well as her aptitude for gaming and solving basic engineering puzzles, is astounding to say the least.
Finis amoris sed non vitae