What I do at CURE

Many people ask me questions like, ‘What’s your title?’, ‘What’s your job?’, ‘What do you do?’. Few of them will question my dedication, hard work ethic, or the demeanor in which I carry out the work. None of the answers I give them really explain what I do, or have done, or will do. All of the answers I give are placeholders. I thought, for my own benefit, and perhaps others, it would be good to put it down in writing.

So much of what I do revolves around data for the organization, reading just a few of the below will quickly justify my title of ‘Lead Data Developer’, but I’m not sure it tells the whole story.

Coordinate the global implementation of Google Apps for several hundred users. Including migrating existing email accounts, training local IT professionals, mass account creation, setting up MX records on domain names, etc.

Self-taught expert on an archaic donor management platform (Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge), that I thankfully don’t have to interact with any longer. Delving deep enough to understand and write SQL queries directly against the database. Mastering and understand the limitations of their own query engine, modifying and configuring many aspects of the system.

ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) scripts, and processes for above mentioned archaic donor platform, as well as several other systems. I’ve written many Python scripts, to take data out of one system (Extract), modify the format and structure of said data (Transform), and then imported it into the system (Load).

Man-in-the-middle ‘systems’, to bridge information between systems. Creating reporting wrappers around gateway processing systems, building middle-ware applications to manage the flow of data from one system into another without problems. Specifically, the best example, is taking general user and payment information (not CC numbers), saving and transporting the data off to another internal system.

Full cycle, requirements gathering, data migration, implementation, configuration, and customization (code) of a cloud based CRM (Salesforce) as a Donor management system. Including a lot of code around donation processing, user and campaign creation, reporting.

Building and customizing WordPress Plugins. The simplest of which are wrappers around a single post-type to display Staff Pages. Middle-ware plugins to store donation transaction information. The more complex being a plugin that is a software layer that generates materialized database views using denormalized WordPress data (some object and it’s object_meta table). As an extension to that, built a basic report generator, using those views.

Full-featured and robust local web application, written in ExtJS, with many data collection forms. For use in seldom-connected to internet environments. Capable of storing and managing data locally, and pushing that up to a server when there’s an internet connection. I had some architecture help from my boss with this (he wrote almost all of the syncing code, both front-end and server-side). This was the project that I cut my teeth on Javascript with.

Web-based access for donor giving information with ability to generate PDF’s of giving history, using information directly from the donor management system.

Customized Google Maps using version 3 of their API for constituent data, used for finding central locations for donor events. Display maps of donor locations, branded maps showing where we have a presence in the world.

Light-weight Javascript application for a more presentation like interaction with our CUREkids system.

I’ll add more as I remember, too many projects over the years.