Living Comfortably in Chaos

My name is Sage Ger­ard. I sound like Dr. Reid from Crim­i­nal Minds and look like a lum­ber­jack with an inter­mit­tent fash­ion sense. I have over a decade of soft­ware adven­tures under my belt. Until recent­ly, I focused on UI devel­op­ment and am now mov­ing to soft­ware archi­tec­ture.

Sage Gerard working on a cabinet

I moved to the web after hob­by­ist game devel­op­ment work and free­lance con­tracts in the legal indus­try. More recent­ly I designed the SSO sys­tem for Class­flow, Promethean World’s flag­ship project, worked on a self-ser­vice plat­form for Crick­et Wire­less and nur­tured a new gen­er­a­tion of microser­vice inter­faces at Data­trac Cor­po­ra­tion.

My hob­bies include wood­work­ing, deer hunt­ing, video games, cook­ing and of course, cod­ing. Open­ing a text edi­tor makes me for­get to eat.

A little more about me

  • I grad­u­at­ed sum­ma cum laude with a BSc in Com­put­er Sci­ence from Ken­ne­saw State Uni­ver­si­ty.
  • I am in the 99th per­centile on Code­wars.
  • My CLI tool ProC­SS (now Aloe) is the first stu­dent project list­ed in the first issue of KSU’s new CS depart­ment jour­nal.
  • I am one of the Mis­sis­sip­pi Busi­ness Journal’s Tech21 in 2011.
  • I have pub­lished projects on GitHub, PyPi and NPM.
  • NASA Aero­space Schol­ars accept­ed me for a rover design com­pe­ti­tion in Huntsville, AL.
  • I led the win­ning team in the iOS devel­op­ment com­pe­ti­tion at Mis­sis­sip­pi State’s first Broad­en­ing Par­tic­i­pa­tion in Com­put­ing pro­gram.
  • I made the cam­paign graph­ics for a U.S. Con­gres­sion­al Nom­i­nee dur­ing the 2012 elec­tion sea­son.

I am pas­sion­ate about soft­ware archi­tec­ture because I enjoy bring­ing order, or help­ing oth­ers cope when they must live with­out order. But this to me is not the same as mak­ing the com­plex sim­ple. I expect every­one to explain things sim­ply; that’s not enough. What I want to see in more engi­neers is the abil­i­ty to move for­ward when sim­ple is not an option.

What you get here

Com­put­er sci­en­tists form the cor­ner­stone of mod­ern civ­i­liza­tion. In human speech we often think talk is cheap and pre­fer action, but our code is where words and action are one and the same. Our lit­er­a­cy launch­es rock­ets and treats dis­eases, so your abil­i­ty to under­stand and com­mu­ni­cate to an arbi­trary degree means the dif­fer­ence between life or death, for humans or their ven­tures. So for me the hall­mark of a great engi­neer is the abil­i­ty to find com­fort in chaos, par­tic­u­lar­ly in a storm of human motives and bleed­ing-edge tech­nol­o­gy. If I throw you into a tumult, will you fig­ure things out? I want to help you say “yes” by plac­ing this blog on three pil­lars:

  1. Empa­thy. Empa­thy makes or breaks you as a com­mu­ni­ca­tor. You should know how soft­ware influ­ences, or is influ­enced by, human behav­ior. Tech­ni­cal apti­tude does not excuse social inep­ti­tude. Solv­ing prob­lems means know­ing peo­ple.
  2. Prac­tice. Unless there is a need, I don’t do tuto­ri­als. I expect read­ers hap­pen to know about what I bring up, espe­cial­ly if they were drawn to an arti­cle. To me, “prac­tice” is just as much about exper­i­ment­ing with old con­cepts as it is play­ing with new ones.
  3. Agnos­ti­cism. “I don’t know and nei­ther do you” is the answer to life’s great ques­tions. This is espe­cial­ly true for inani­ty like “what’s the best pro­gram­ming lan­guage?” Your God is con­text, not a lan­guage, not a opin­ion leader, not a frame­work, and cer­tain­ly not fash­ion. A great engi­neer would hap­pi­ly try some­thing unortho­dox that seems to fit best before doing what every­one else is doing.
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