Home > ColdFusion, Personal > How I Got Started In ColdFusion

How I Got Started In ColdFusion

By all accounts, I’m not supposed to be a CF developer.  You see as an undergrad, I majored in biological sciences and was focused to the point of tunnel vision on a career as a doctor.  There’s a saying that goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”  That certainly holds true in my case.  After 2 unsuccessful attempts at applying to med school, I had to look elsewhere for my career path.  I was working as a lab tech and hated it because I wasn’t doing research and it certainly didn’t pay what I at the time thought was a decent salary.

I made a switch in 1995 to telecom and worked my way up from customer service to revenue assurance and became a software quality assurance analyst.  In this position, I found myself butting heads constantly with developers.  A few of them were nice enough to teach me a thing or two.  In 1998 I got my first taste of developing my own personal web site.  I tore my ACL in a touch football game and decided to document my surgery and recovery in what we now call a blog.    I started getting emails from people asking questions about my injury and telling stories about their recovery.  I was hooked.  I would check the site each day to see how many hits I’d gotten.  I updated the site nearly daily with some new story or picture.

Web development remained just a hobby for me until 2001.  Like a lot of IT workers, I was laid off just after the September 11 attacks and spent quite some time unemployed.  During this time I learned of a free state program that would train people in web application development.  After completing the program, they would secure an internship which would lead to a 1 year job at a very small salary as a way to repay the free training.  I learned HTML, ASP, SQL, and just enough ColdFusion to be dangerous and completed the program in August 2002.  It took a few months but I landed my first paying ColdFusion job in October 2002 with the National Association of  Secondary School Principals (NASSP), in Reston, VA.  There I maintained principals.org as well as the sites for the National Honor Society and the National Association of Student Councils.  We ran CF 4.5 and migrated up to CFMX, before they implemented an ASP.NET content management.  I learned so much in those 2 years and had a lot of fun.  I have gone on to work in ColdFusion as a government contractor and now as a federal government employee with the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution.

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