I am Michael J Brancato and I am a full LAMP stack developer. I consider myself to be very knowledgeable in many of the fields in IT. I have always been a contractor and Toptal was brought to my attention by one of my best Marine friends. So I decided to write about why I am a contractor and my interest in Toptal.
Ever since I was about eight years old, I always wanted to work in the IT field. I was very determined to gain as much knowledge as I can where I wanted to goto schooling for it. I was always fascinated with taking electronics a part and learning how to put them back together or improve them. I didn’t want to be a hardware engineer because that seemed a little too extreme and I didn’t want to be a computer technician because that was too easy. I wanted to do something that would utilize my full capability of my brain. I am a highly analytical and logical person so programming would fit me perfectly. I started learning BASIC in my pre-teen years and read programming books. Every piece of knowledge I learned and everything I accomplished made me more eager and excited to learn more.
My Overall Experience
I am a US Marine Veteran that has worked as a Network Administrator for over five years. I have setup and programmed enterprise network switches and routers for thousands of users. I always excelled in what I did and put my best work into everything. I got an award for modifying a mission critical application in Java and several companies found me to be a valuable asset.
Who I Am Today
I have been a professional programmer for over six years and programming for many years before that as a hobby. After the Marine Corps, I needed a job and my best friend introduced me to a company he was working for as a contractor. I have furthered gained and advanced my knowledge exponentially. Ever since then, I have worked for several other companies as a contractor and built highend systems such as Interlock systems that does hundreds of things such as appointment scheduling, payments, portals, checkouts, and reporting to the state through API’s.
Why LAMP Stack?
I have worked in dozens of areas of IT as well as many different programming languages. I chose the LAMP stack environment as my main area and my comfort field. After dealing with many different Operating Systems I have learned that most of the ones that aren’t open-source have many problems and don’t meet my expectation. Windows and the late-Mac (after Steve Jobs) have two things in common. One: They are monopolistic and they don’t care about the users, they care for profits, and leave out the more experienced users such as myself. They are often bloated with popups and making you do things their way. Two: They are often unstable, crash constantly, and run worse than a short term release of Linux. They are also much more difficult to manage. This is why I run Linux (Xubuntu LTS) on all my production computers. I prefer using CentOS as the Linux OS on LAMP stack environments. I love Apache the most over IIS for it’s simplicity, paired with cPanel makes Apache management very easy. MySQL is one of the best RDBM’s out there aside from Oracle. Then lastly, PHP is where my heart is at. I love PHP for the capabilities and how well it’s structured. PHP is also one of the most fastest web technologies out there especially with the release of PHP 7.
I chose contracting work for many reasons. Contracting allows me to be much more efficient and allows me to create my own schedule. It cuts out the two-hour drives to and from work. It allows me to listen to the music and type on my mechanical keyboard. I also like having incense and my essential oil diffuser which helps set the mood and keeps me focused while boosting my morale. Certain pictures on the wall and the overall atmosphere of my home office allows me to feel comfortable while I can work peacefully. Working at home allows me to run a high-powered desktop and 4 monitors so I can multi-task without any issues. As a contractor, I can also use my own computer and my own Operating System and not having to live up to a company’s expectations of using a certain monopolistic Operating System or certain software. Contracting allows you to have the ability to set your own workflow and to not be bothered so you can get work done and done properly. It also allows me to have direct access to my home enterprise server where I host many VM’s including testing environments and the other Operating Systems that are needed to test projects on for clients.
I have come across Toptal and have done extensive research on the company. I feel that Toptal is very awesome and I appreciate what they do for contractors like myself and the care for clients. I am committed to working and developing projects, this is what I do best. I am currently looking for new opportunities to take advantage of my vast experience of working on hundreds of projects in my career. From working on WordPress, Magento, MVC frameworks, custom portals, frameworks and much more, I am a very seasoned programmer.
From working in the civilian field and military field, I have extensive experience in all areas of the IT field. I know what it means to meet deadlines and I have experience working in very stressful environments. I hold all the valuable leadership traits such as justice, judgement, dependability, initiative, decisiveness, tact, integrity, enthusiasm, bearing, unselfishness, courage, knowledge loyalty, and endurance. I am a hard-worker dedicated and very determined in what I do and a valuable asset that can inspire and help shapeshift an entire team for the best. Like my motto is: “Making the world a better place one step at a time”, and I have always lived up to my motto.
Michael J Brancato
Making the world a better place one step at a time.