about me

Grizzy Peak Overpass. Jaunary 2020. Berkeley, CA. © Jayson J. Phillips

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Well, before dive in on my story, let me start this off with a disclaimer:

The views expressed on this site are solely those of myself, and are not necessarily representive of nor endorsed by my employer, business partners or any other firm I may have a relationship with, professional or otherwise, unless explicitly stated.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get on with the about page.

If you want a nice, neat, tl;dr, then peep my /now page to see what I'm up to, well, now. Otherwise, read on.

By day, I'm a Senior Engineering Manager at Coursera, working on the core learner platform. I find joy in helping people find their own pathways into a software development career, especially given that my own path was quite indirect (more on that in a bit). I've spoken a couple of times about parts of this journey, and always welcome opportunities to do, especially if it can be of service of growth and development. I also teach Web Development Bootcamps, currently at UCLA Extension.

I also serve on a couple of non-profit boards, including the Advisory Board of Bay Area Inspires Award and as a STEM Advisor, National Board of the International Girls Academy.

Now, as for how I ended up in tech in the first place, well, here's where the "unconventional path" starts. I've always had a love for art and music. I specialized in Fine Art (Photography) in high school, before eventually deciding to major in Math and Computer Science in college. After about 5 semesters, I dropped both majors and enrolled in a piloting hybrid degree program that was a BS in Computer Graphics and Imaging. Then, I took a leave of absence when I got the opportunity to go on the road with Scratch DJ Academy as a tour liaison, stage/sound engineer, and would soak up and practice DJing with some of the dopest DJs I knew who were at Scratch. It was there that I got my first web developer gig, as an Assistant Webmaster.

Eventually, I would choose to further my web development career and put school on hold - indefinitely. I used to jokingly tell folks I went to the University of Barnes & Noble - throughout the first years of my career, I would consume books on HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and Actionscript in their cafes and buy the top three that I felt best aligned with my learning style... every. week. (E-Readers made this a much more sustainable and environmentally-conscious way to do this circa 2010).

I've also become somewhat of an activity junkie: to date, I've run in 20 Half Marathons (completed 19) across 9 states and 2 countries, I've ridden in 2 100 miler cycling rides (and a couple of metric century rides in Montreal, QC), I've run a few Ragnar Relay races, a couple of Super Spartan races, a couple of Rugged Maniac mud runs, and 1 duathlon (Run/Bike/Run). I'm currently getting ready for my 2020 season, which has exactly ZERO pre-planned races, so it'll be fun this year to just have a solid training base and do an event whenever I feel like it.

In a nutshell, that's me. Feel free to drop by here if you'd like to take a gander at my work history, or here if you'd like to do so on LinkedIn, or here if you'd like to connect over 140s and hashtags.