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Hi, Sam!

Replit Platform Engineer

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About Me

I'm a Software Engineer on Replit's Platform Team (check out our open jobs) - I'm based in Seattle, Washington, and have over 10 years of professional experience. Most recently, I worked as a Senior Engineer with Amazon Kuiper to design and develop distributed services and embedded software related to satellite communications and operations.

Before Kuiper, I was an early member of the Amazon Luna team - a cloud gaming service that aims to expand access to high-quality gaming experiences. With Luna, I worked on everything from social features (like the Discord integrations) to designing and delivering the cloud save system, to game session management and more.

And before all of that, I joined Amazon with the Amazon Registry team. That's domain registry - not wedding registry. Amazon made a big play with full word TLDs first came to be (you might remember that Brazil sure was interested in .amazon) and Amazon Registry is responsible for the operation and ownership of the Top Level Domains that Amazon owns.

My first job after graduating from Auburn University with a B.S. in C.S. (what an acronym) was actually started while I was still at school. I'll do a little time-hop here to support the story.

Before I finished high school, I discovered the magic of Tumblr and found my footing writing "Themes" - Handlebars JS style templates with a horrifying blend of inline-CSS and ill-advised javascript that other users could (with a single button click) install on their blogs. I found a niche in the "blog network" space (blogs that were link portals between like-minded bloggers). I watched the user numbers climb (10,000! Wow!) and I was hooked.

When I started school, my "venture" (attending university) very quickly ran out of "capital" (parental funding) and I turned to my web development experience with Tumblr to boost my resume for a web development role with the local Extension System team. My time with this group was invaluable. We started with Wordpress sites - customizing templates, headers, page groups. They moved me onto explorations in Angular, and as the first cross-platform frameworks emerged with Cordova and Ionic, I was able to contribute to early stage mobile applications.

I even got to cause my first operational issue when an untested application I had written got used for a phone-a-thon to contact potential candidates for the College of Agriculture! That was a fun one. Slowly but surely I made my way up the local ladder of students employed through the school. I was making $14 an hour! It was 2015! I was the king of the world! Little Caesers every week. I wasn't thinking about Jobs after school yet - that was a problem for future Sam! Again, πŸ‘‘ of the 🌎.

Luckily, one of my university classes had, as an assignment, ensured we prepared resumes and posted them in the university career center. ExxonMobil was in town for a career fair and pulled resumes from the career center and contacted me about an internship. I hit it off with the interviewer and decided (after hearing that $30 was on the table) to give it a shot. At ExxonMobil, I learned for the first time about the model of Human / User Centered Design and I was hooked. I think people leave this concept at the surface level - but this model of thinking applies to systems just as well.

After a successful internship, I was invited (read: begged my manager and HR) to continue my internship with a second project remotely while I completed school. I went on to work 30-hour weeks with Exxon, while I finished my courses, ran my fraternity (ΑΕΠ fellas!), oh, and got engaged to my wife (πŸ’). While I'm not sure I'd go back to that schedule, I learned that I can get through anything if I keep pushing. I returned to ExxonMobil in Houston for two years of work (after an amazing trip to Nepal and Everest Base Camp). At Exxon I learned how to navigate a multi-national corporation, work with customers from diverse backgrounds with diverse needs, and to deliver at a global scale.

Ultimately, I always held a goal of working in the tech industry. In 2018 my wife, dogs, cat and I moved to Seattle to fulfill that dream and have been loving living here ever since.

Things I like: