Erin McLaughlin: Senior Web Application Engineer

About the Professional

I can't believe I've been doing this for over ten years! I graduated with a BS in computer science in 2011 and immediately jumped into the professional world of developing websites. As much as my career has focused on PHP and the Drupal CMS, those are far from my only interests.

This website is built using python and Django. I have projects going using both Ruby on Rails and React. I'm constantly in search of new things to learn and new ways to apply my knowledge.

My career has been focused largely on digital marketing agency work. Because of my focus on Drupal, I've been able to give back to the open source community in the form of bug fixing contributions. The satisfaction of tracking down and figuring out the fix to a tough bug can't be beat!

What's my specialty, you ask? Making order out of chaos. I love integrating web applications with other applications—be it an API, spreadsheet, XML, whathaveyou—and normalizing the data to pass back and forth. A mess of an XML file is my favorite thing to dig into.

About the History

My interest in computer programming began at a very young age, when my older brother got a computer. I would flip through his floppies, looking for fun things to do. There were plenty of games programmed by his friends, and those were fun, but the floppy that I latched on to was the one teaching BASIC. I would go through the tutorials and examples on that floppy over and over again, until I had the whole thing memorised.

When I started writing my own programs, I discovered that not only was coding fun, it was easy! Figuring out why my code wasn't working and then showing off what I had made to other people was a huge rush, which hasn't abated. That is the sort of career I'm looking for. Not necessarily one involving games or graphics, but one where I have the opportunity to work on a project that goes out to the public and makes people's lives easier, or better.

About the Personal

I live on the side of a mountain out in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, USA with my goats, chickens, dogs, and cats. Buying a house with some land in the Berkshires has been a dream of mine since I was young so I'm living my best life at the moment. I'm highly interested in livestock breed conservation so the chickens are barred hollands, one of if not the rarest chicken developed in the United States, and the goats are oberhasli dairy goats.

I have many, many hobbies and not nearly enough time for all of them. I love making things with my hands and I'm especially drawn to needlecrafts. When I'm not fiddling with yarn, I'm making yarn or quilting. Or I'm outside with the animals! Both the dogs are herding breeds so they need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis. There's never a dull moment around here.