I was bitten by the coding bug in my youth. When I was eight years old my father brought home an IBM XT. I was immediately mesmerized and spent my afternoons copying BASIC type-in programs from Compute! magazine.
There was something exciting and magical about creating a simple text program that would respond to your input. What started as a youthful fascination soon turned into a full-fledged passion.
I taught myself Visual Basic, which was a very approachable and incredibly powerful tool for building form-based and spreadsheet-like applications. I took engineering classes at university, but found them dull compared to programming.
So when I was offered a full-time coding job, I happily seized the opportunity. Not long after, around 1999, I made the move from my hometown of Toronto to Seattle.
It was an exciting time — my friends were still in school and I was moving across the country to join the startup scene.
The Pacific Northwest was breathtaking for an outdoorsy type like myself. I had the opportunity to visit the Olympic Mountains, tour the Mount St. Helens aftermath, and snowboard in a ridiculous amount of snow at Baker.
But eventually, I felt the pull back to my roots. In 2001 I transitioned back to Toronto and joined a media technology company that was eventually acquired by Cisco Systems. I progressed from developer to technical director, and eventually into the newly-created role of “sales engineer.”
I joined another company that was successfully acquired. But after riding out the dot-com bubble and a few acquisitions, I wanted to get back to building. I decided to start my own software consulting business. The company grew to about 10 developers and designers.
After 4 years running my consulting business I found myself missing that familiar coding itch. At the same time, I was considering what I would need to change to spend more time with my two kids.
I came across an Aha! job posting on a remote work site. I had a great chat with one of the co-founders and decided Aha! was a company and culture that would allow me to commit to my passion for coding, as well as provide the benefit of not having a commute and being able to work from my home office.
Since joining I’ve had the opportunity to work on key components of Aha! — including refactoring the custom field data structures and enhancing the depth of our Rally integration. Since the engineering team uses the same product we build, it empowers us with such a high level of confidence that new hires like myself can make significant contributions within the first week.
It is clear that Aha! is making a real difference in how companies innovate. We’re enabling them to put strategy first, instead of just building out individual product features.
Not only do I get to work on an incredible product, but working from home gives me the opportunity to engage with my kids far more than I could if I had to drive back and forth to work each day.
The only negative? Aha! has ruined me from ever being willing to commute again.
That is why I joined Aha! — and so should you.