Aaron Saray

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Web Developer, Open Source Programmer

I love being a web developer and open source programmer. On a daily basis, I get to work with junior and senior level programmers, helping and mentoring them along. I might start my day by answering basic PHP and MySQL questions, and then move on to helping the senior programmer develop a complex architecture. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility in my job, plus the ability to do any sort of work outside of work hours that intrigues me.

I work primarily in programmer career development, online product development and budgeting. This means I'm extremely familiar with setting a direction and vision for products, testing new features and ideas and developing estimates that will determine if a project is feasible. I work with a number of different programmers on my team, as well as mentor a few non-profit ventures outside of work hours. I am also a published author in the technical realm (WROX/Wiley), blog often and run multiple programmer learning groups

Here’s a bit of what we can cover in our PivotPlanet session(s):
• How to think through tasks, programming, design, etc.
• Understanding the value of customer/tester input.
• Where to find good information to continue your learning.
• How to have confidence in your tasks.
• PHP, MySQL, Javascript, HTML and online entrepreneurship skills - come one, come all. This is my area of expertise. I will focus on these technologies, if required - or other more soft skills when needed.

Becoming a great programmer, a great entrepreneur or a product developer comes in waves. When you reach the top of the wave, remember it is just the current wave. There's another wave coming - don't get too comfortable. One of the things I tell those I mentor is this: "There always is someone smarter." I turn that into a talk about how to find a mentor, and how that will propel them forward. I also remind them to BECOME a mentor for someone else. You never know how much you can learn from teaching other people.


Before I was a programmer, I was an Internet service provider phone and email technical support specialist. We worked with dialup, dsl, T1, cable and satellite internet. I handled customers via telephone and email. I progressed to manager of the call center, while doing web programming in my free time. When the chance to move to a dedicated career in programming came up, I packed up and moved across the state all in a matter of days. I knew what I wanted to do.

Every day I get to work with some of my best friends. I have seen each one grow. I have a number of colleagues who openly acknowledge my help as the reason they have reached certain heights in their careers. My honest communication with them combined with the knowledge I have in the field has pushed them past anywhere they ever thought they could go. I know I made the right choice of careers, and I look forward to helping others explore the opportunities in the field of web development and programming.