Thomas L McGrath

First Actual Post, Finally

There’s an old saying: The cobbler’s children go shoeless. I think that’s pretty much an apt aphorism for this blog. Apart from the fact that I’m a notorious procrastinator, I also have a bad tendency to over edit and second guess myself unless I have an actual deadline. Suffice to say, this has resulted in this blog sitting around with nothing to say, and no one reading it. Recent events both in the world and in my life have motivated me to try to break out of this pattern and actually write something here.

I’ll kick things off with some basic stuff:

I’m a software developer working as a contractor to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the last 19 years, as of this coming August. I spent a fair amount of that time developing scientific websites, applications and databases for marine biologists in the National Center for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS). I was doing a lot of full stack development, though I prefer the API side of the house. In 2019, I accepted an offer to move to a new contract with the Office of Coastal Management (OCM). It was a very good move for me not just because it was more money, but because I was able to join a diverse development team of about 20, give or take, who are all highly skilled and work well together. It also allowed me to focus more on API development as well as expand my understanding of and experience with Azure.

One of the perks of my job with OCM is that since my team is spread out across the country, we are all fully remote. This was especially fortunate for us during the pandemic, but also because of certain health issues that I’ll cover in anther post. Suffice to say, I’m very much committed to remote work, and never intend to occupy an office outside of my home again.

Another benefit of my current work situation is that I’m much more a part of a team. Although I primarily handle the API side of things, my knowledge and understanding of web frameworks has also grown considerably.

In addition to this blog, I’m also starting to make more use of Twitter to connect with the development community outside of my own development team. I’m not especially fond of twitter, largely because the character limit feels a little like a means of controlling the range of thought allowed on the platform, but it is useful for networking if you use it wisely. My history with Twitter and social media in general has mostly been limited to posting pictures of my dogs, and ranting about politics and hockey. I’ve mostly given up the latter two. Political debate on social media is just a rabbit hole of insanity, and when it comes to hockey, I prefer just to yell at my TV. Sometimes, I even do that when there’s actually a game on. On good days, the TV is actually on as well. (Wait, do I even own a TV?)

I’ll be doing some work on the theme and structure of this site, as I find the current one a bit basic, and I’d like to try to improve my dubious front end design skills. Try and be patient as I figure out what this thing will ultimately be.

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