Matt Smith's Blog

Software Engineering related topics

Professional Life

I have been working as a Software Engineer since my high school years. I have been in love with computers ever since that first class in C++ development my junior year. The following year I made my way onto the school website team, there was no going back from there.

After high school my father enlisted my skills for his small business. I developed a website for him, that I don’t feel was too successful. I thank my dad though for investing in me and starting me off on a life long quest to learn and understand software. It was those early days of reading many books and self tutalage, with a lot of debugging, that built my ability to learn new technologies with relative ease.

It was while I was attending school at the University of Utah though that I got my first REAL software engineering job. I worked for Idaho Technology (Based out of Salt Lake City, Utah??) for over three years. It was there that I learned how to develop enterprise level software. At the halfway mark of my employment there I had to take a break for a deployement to Iraq. When I returned the only position available for me was as a Quality Assurance Engineer. Writing automated UI tests was my calling for the next year and a half, I left to get back into development. QA really wasn’t the life for me, but the lessons I learned have never left.

I worked for Extend Health from March 2011 to November 2012. It was there that my eyes where opened to the power of open source development. I learned and used more technologies my first year there than my entire career up to that point.

After getting my feet wet doing open source development, I became acquainted with the guys that started the FubuMVC project at Dovetail Software. I found out they were looking for new developers, which was something I just couldn’t let pass by. That was a wonderful experience, and I grew a lot from the team.

I was required to relocate to the Austin, TX area for Dovetail. My family and I stayed there a year before we decided it was time to return home to Salt Lake City, UT. I returned to Extend Health, which has now become the primary maintainer of the Fubu project.

Open Source Developer

I once read in a book, I wish I could recall which one so I could site it, that software engineers should study the works of other software engineers. Similar to how architects study the works of many other architects to learn from their successes and failures. (Like the Leaning Tower of Pisa) Yet most developers spend the majority of their time in one project, which they know very well. I enjoy the world of open source development and how it allows me to see the works of other great and not so great software engineers. My first contribution to an open source project was for the Ruby Gem Bundler. I only posted a one line bug fix, but I haven’t been able to stay away from it since.

Education

I started off my first few years of software development at my public library. This was before there was a lot of resources online, or if there was I didn’t know how to find it. I would frequently go and get five or six books, and just devour them. I don’t believe that I really learned much about software development at this time though. What it did teach me was how to research, learn, problem solve, and most importantly debug.

It wasn’t until I attended my first course in computer science at the University of Utah that things really started to click. I easily aced all my classes, but the content just opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed. I will always treasure those eye opening moments that occured there.

Family Life

I met my lovely wife Chloe within days of returning from Marine Corps Boot Camp. Let’s just say, women really do love a man in uniform. We courted for almost eight months before we were married. We have three young boys, all of which are keeping us on our toes every minute of the day.

United States Marine Corps

A biography of my life would be incomplete without stating that I am a US Marine. I spent my entire enlistment with Fox Company 2nd Battalion 23rd Marines as a rifleman in an Infantry unit. I deployed to the Al Anbar Province of Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009.