Sarah Chamberlin, Owner and Lead Developer
How does an English creative writing major end up designing web applications?
In 1996 I received an English degree from Wesleyan University. I spent the following year in graduate study as a Jane Addams Fellow at Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy. After a six-month hiatus in Cameroun, Central Africa, where I served as an IFES-certified international election monitor (and I created my first web site, for a young journalists’ organization documenting the country’s presidential election) I moved to New York and spent several years working with non-governmental advocacy organizations at the United Nations, focusing on women’s international human rights.
I joined the Nation Institute’s staff in 1999 following a partnership with them to present Wall, Redefined, an art installation at the international peace conference at the Hague. After managing the launch of Nation Books (and creating the imprint’s first web site) and coordinating the Institute’s and The Nation Magazine’s presence at the 2000 National Republican and Democratic conferences, I left to join the tech team at Madstone Theaters, a start-up independent movie theater chain and production company.
After 3 roller-coaster years at Madstone (which closed its doors in may 2004) I began interviewing for management-level technology positions while building my client list. After several surreal interview experiences–including one at which my potential supervisor asked me what was so wrong with my life that I wanted to work for his company–I realized that the benefits of working for myself far outweighed the risks and i’ve been working steadily ever since, primarily on referrals from my clients. In my free time I read, travel, and design and market a line of baby products and apparel.
Michael Sullivan, Web Application Developer
As an undergrad I studied Computer Science at Middlebury College in Vermont and received my BA (since it’s really an art based on a science?) in 2001. After that I moved to New York but the job market for programmers soon went south and I became a teacher, first as an apprentice in a public middle school in East New York, Brooklyn and later as a full-time faculty member in the Math Department at St. Agnes Boys High School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. After four years at St. Agnes that included one year as department chairperson, I moved to Santa Barbara, California in late 2006. While looking for a new teaching position I was offered an entry-level job as an ASP.NET developer, which I accepted.
I spent the next 7 years as a full-time .NET developer and during that time I became a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist in 3 different areas of web and database technology. I moved back to Brooklyn in the Summer of 2009 and shortly thereafter started in a new .NET position with a professional development company in the Financial District, which happened to serve many of my former teaching colleagues, providing online courses for fulfilling certification requirements and earning graduate credits.
Today I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with many different types of clients on a variety of interesting projects that are underway here at Abacus. Like everyone else we have to spend time on maintenance and support tasks, but we are truly lucky to be able to write tons of new code on a regular basis that leverages the latest technologies for all of the new projects that come our way. In my free time I like to read the classic language-agnostic programming books, teach myself guitar and piano, and explore the lesser-known parts of the city with my wife and two children.
Edward Young, Developer Emeritus
In 2002 I graduated from Columbia University with a BS in Computer Science. My first job out of school was at Madstone where I met Sarah. I started on the IT Help Desk and was eventually promoted to a Systems Administrator. In my spare time, I helped Sarah and her team develop an Intranet application for Madstone using Linux, PHP, and MySQL (way before LAMP become a popular term). When Madstone closed its doors in 2004, I began consulting for John B. Stetson before ultimately joining Community Connect Inc full time as their IT Manager. I was also studying for my MS in Computer Science at Columbia part time.
After a few years of helping Community Connect grow their internal IT infrastructure and completing my studies, I left the web startup world and moved to the hedge fund world. I worked in the IT departments of Moon Capital Management and Bridgewater Associates for the next 4 years. After joining Abacus full time for a year, I realized how much I missed the long commute to Connecticut and the all-you-can-eat buffet in the cafeteria and returned to the IT infrastructure world at
Bridgewater. I like to consult on Abacus projects whenever possible, and if I have any time left over I love to travel, cook, and play golf (more than my wife would like me to play).