I'm an Aerospace Engineer working for NASA doing solid rocket motor ballistics analysis. While software development is not in my job title, I love programming and try to use it to make my job and the jobs of my team members easier by developing analysis tools.
My programming experience began like many Engineers with Excel VBA and Matlab, which expanded to Python and VB.Net. My job also requires I use a number of legacy FORTRAN analysis codes. I also program my TI-89, mod my GNex, and make advanced spreadsheets documenting... everything. Discussions abound extolling the advantages of Python over Matlab. I do continue developing in Matlab because it’s used by my coworkers and is great with data. I’m also probably the most proficient with Matlab. Matlab is also fairly capable with GUI's, especially when extended with Java. I found Python whilst seeking freedom from commercial tools. Python is extensively used and well supported in the science and engineering community with tools like Scipy, Numpy, Matplotlib, Pandas, Spyder, Mayavi, etc, and the ease with which libraries can be utilized make Python immediately useful. Python is also learnable, powerful, brilliantly designed, philosophy focused, and well supported by an internet-spanning community. My current Python projects utilize PyQt to develop frontends and data exploration tools for CLI analysis codes. I've also begun to replace VBA with VB.Net for developing advanced Excel Add-Ins (with help from Excel-DNA). After reading plenty of discussions and flame wars online about VB.Net vs. C# ,I finally decided that VB.Net is exactly where I want to be despite the popularity of C# in computer science and internet arenas. VB actually has a really strong heritage in engineering circles and will serve me better for rapid application development, Excel Add-Ins, and has a chance of being maintainable by my coworkers, who have experience in VBA and VB6. I also prefer VB.Net's more human-readable syntax, it has a lower learning curve for me since I'm very proficient with VBA, and recent additions to the language give it list and dictionary literals that are almost Pythonic! While the more lax nature of the compiler might make some programmers cry a little (Option Explicit turned off, late-binding, undeclared variables, etc.), it sure speeds up development when I don't have time to write perfect software. Most engineering code is some ugly hacked together version of good enough, and VB.Net fits that so much better than C#. I'll do my elegant production code in Python and my Excel Hack-foo in VBA or VB.Net.
Outside work I spend most of my time with my awesome wife and our two cats. I enjoy Star Trek (NASA's the closest thing I could find to Starfleet Academy), video games, programming, jazz, playing the flute (yes.... jazz flute!), working on the house, and being involved with the young adult group at my church.
Member for 6 years, 8 months
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Last seen Feb 28 '19 at 1:53