Developer Profile: Sheldon Chang

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In 1996 when I built my first website as a college student, all you needed was an entry level knowledge of HTML and a minimal understanding of Photoshop to call yourself a Web Designer. Needless to say, things have changed. I prefer to be called a Web Developer these days because its no longer enough to design a good looking website. If you want a quality website that lasts, you need to architect them. To do that you need someone who's part graphic designer, copy writer, engineer, and usability analyst.

In the software engineering world there's an interesting paradox known as the Mythical Man Month, which states that adding programmers to a project that's running behind makes it run even farther behind. A self sufficient one man team is a rarity in the tech world, but it's an ideal situation when you can find it. For many projects, I'm able to work faster and more economically than your average design team because I have the versatility to deliver a high quality product without needing to spend time and energy supporting additional team members.

My background's a little unusual for a tech guy. I started my career as a physical therapist with a huge fondness for information technology.I got about half a year into my life as a clinician when the tech boom came along and sucked me into it. A now defunct company called Neoforma, hired me to create online communities for healthcare professionals. That project never got off the ground so I was put to task as a project manager on various tech/healthcare crossover projects for close to three years. Eventually, I moved into a purely technical role as the chief CRM tools geek (Salesforce, WebEx, & etc). After braving business data attacks in my CRM role for a couple of years, I left Neoforma to start Hyperlinked Web Services, my freelance web development business.

I take all sorts of projects, but try to do as much of my business with locally owned mom n pop shops as possible. They're an underserved audience left behind by the hyper-mobile brand-driven society of the Internet age. That's a huge crying shame because those small businesses are a big part of what constitutes local character and culture. I genuinely feel that the idea of community (whether online or offline) is a bankrupt concept if it doesn't include looking out for the common good of the people living next to you. Through both my freelance web development work and my work developing, I'm applying technology in hopes of creating a more robust and sustainable nuclear community around me.

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