Brazen’s software engineer Andrew Shell took initiative and formed a PHP group. He discusses why he did it and how it has been instrumental in taking his career to the next level.
This is part of a featuring members of the Brazen Careerist team. Brazen staff were asked to provide a little information about themselves and one piece of career advice based on what has helped them most in their careers so far.
So what do you do at Brazen?
I’m one of the software engineers. I build the site.
What did you do before Brazen?
I worked for PBworks (formerly PBwiki).
Tell us something unique about you.
Just one thing? Hehe. The only two times I’ve been to L.A. have been related to Pee-Wee Herman. The first time was to see E.G. Daily’s (Dottie in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure) one-woman autobiographical musical “Listen Closely” and the second time was to see the Pee-Wee Herman Show. Plus I share the same birthday (Aug. 27) with Paul Reubens (AKA Pee-Wee Herman).
What is one thing that has helped you advance in your career?
Starting a group. We all know it is good to network. Well it’s even better to lead a group because then you are automatically viewed as an expert. When I first started out doing PHP development I discovered that not only was there no PHP group in Madison, but a whole bunch of developers wanted one. So I started the group on and had over 20 people show up at the first meetup.
At the beginning the group was mostly novices, so I presented on a variety of advanced topics, which forced me to learn the material inside and out. So even though I wasn’t an expert when I started the group it didn’t take very long before I was. The other benefit is if the group is directly about or related to your industry you’ll start getting contacted by anyone who wants to hire someone related to your group. I got first crack at all the PHP jobs happening in Madison and if I wasn’t interested I could hook up my friends. Almost every one of my jobs I’ve gotten directly because I was the organizer of the Madison PHP Group.