It’s my last day at Catholic Content. It’s been a great 3 year ride and is certainly going out with a bang. When we started planning for NCYC 2009 (National Catholic Youth Conference) 18 months ago, I never would have guessed it would be my last weekend. But here I am, working behind the scenes with the production crew to stream the event out to thousands of people around the world. The fun part? I’ve never done live event streaming before, so it’s been a hectic, but adventurous weekend. In a way, it’s almost a culmination of the last three years. Lots of stuff I’ve never done before, but having a blast learning.

Coming into this job as the lead developer for, I had zero experience running a project the size of where we have taken this. I had never built a web server this size from scratch (software-wise). But along the way, I’ve had to tackle hundreds, or heck… likely thousands of problems along the way, and I’ve learned something at every step. It’s been such an incredible learning experience as I’ve gained a bit of knowledge about so many different areas. These new skills include everything from cloud computing, systems architecture, to Linux administration, all the way to the front-end with JavaScript libraries. Then of course, that middle layer of PHP where my skills and knowledge have improved an unmeasurable amount.

When I started my career after graduation 5 years ago, I had a gameplan, a very iterative gameplan:

  • Step 1: Get a job, anything.

  • Step 2: Find a web development job, maybe it would be something that I wasn’t thrilled about or didn’t pay well, but it was at least enough to get me in the door as a programmer.

  • Step 3: Find a job that paid a decent amount, but didn’t have to be a project I was passionate about.

  • Step 4: Now that everything else is taken care of, find a project I was passionate about.

Beyond those 4 steps, I wasn’t sure exactly what came next. Perhaps it was starting my own company? Maybe moving out to the west coast? Maybe it wasn’t even in web development? In fact, mid-step 3, I considered changing careers because my job was just so unfulfilling. I enjoy cooking, so maybe Culinary school? Then I remembered I don’t like anything outside 10 foods, so nevermind that. I loved doing 3D animations in high school, but never pursued it because I can’t draw. So… I stuck it out and realized it was just my job, not my career choice, that was unsatisfying. Boom. Reenergized.

Well, tomorrow is the transition between from Step 4 to Step 5. This year I realized the next step for me was going to be moving to LA, SF, or Seattle. I needed to get to a tech hub where there were thousands of jobs, with companies large & small. But, there was also something from this last step that I was missing, that “passionate about the project” part. While I’m incredibly proud of the platform we’ve built at MyCatholicVoice, I’ve never been able to have much of a connection with our users. Why? I’m a non-Catholic working on a Catholic project. While I think the purpose of the project is a noble one and I agree with bringing “web 2.0” to the Catholic church, it ultimately doesn’t effect me faith-wise. That’s a little bit of a bummer sometimes. I want to be a user of the product, as well as a developer.

Well, enter Yahoo. Talking about being a user of a product… Y! is one of the oldest services I still use from my first days on the internet in the mid-90s. Check out my last post for all the reasons I’m thrilled to have this opportunity.

So, what’s after what’s next? Hmmm….