BrandonSouthern.com

About Brandon Southern

Hi, I’m Brandon!

I’ve been working around tech for roughly the last 20 years (small stint with the financial planning and brokerage industry as well as retail management). I’ve built a few different websites over the years (my brewery website and a financial planning website) as well as automating a beer kegerator to make it automatically pour beer. Writing code is usually pretty enjoyable to me, however, I don’t take traditional roles as a software developer because I want to work on projects where I have a lot of passion. This has translated into me working in roles as a software quality assurance engineer, data engineer, and related roles as an individual contributor as well as a manager.

I pride myself on doing the right thing and helping others succeed, which usually means a lot of self reflection. At the end of the day, I just want to make things better than they were the day before.

On my site you’ll find posts about various topics of things that interest me or where I just feel like hopping up on my soapbox to pass along what I feel is useful information.

Passions

I believe that people should try their best to understand what they are passionate about and then do those things. Whether it is in their personal life or professional life, it’s important to work within those passions. Obviously there are some exceptions and situations where you just have to suck it up and do something that you don’t really enjoy, but on a net-net basis, you should do what makes you happy. If not, craft a plan to make a change. Then take the risk and make the change!

Here’s what I’m passionate about:

  • Helping others
  • Coaching/teaching/training
  • Writing code
  • Refactoring code (yes, I actually enjoy it)
  • Writing SQL ETL’s
  • Seeing people’s happiness through food and drinks
  • Brewing beer
  • Making pizza
  • Baking
  • Woodworking (the end result)
  • Making things better
  • Solving problems
  • Standing up for what’s right
  • Reading interesting books

Skills

I really dislike talking about skills because it always feels like a brag section when I see it written. However, I realize that my page gets looked at by recruiters and others and well, we all need to build our personal brand (see blog post). Also, I’m never sure how to classify a skill from a logical perspective. I’ve been asked plenty of times over the years in interviews questions such as, “How would you rate your skill in xyz”? This is really a matter of perspective and whom you’re comparing yourself to. The problem is, you don’t know your audience and what they know and their basis for comparison.

At any rate, here’s a few things that I’ve been told that I’m skilled at:

  • Writing clean/good SQL
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Saving companies money through six-sigma efficiency
  • Creative solutions
  • 1:1 coaching with others
  • Having a vision and strategy
  • Building things
  • Repairing things

Beliefs

I have a handful of things that I believe in that make up my core beliefs. These beliefs guide me through life and impact how I make decisions.

Here’s what I believe:

  • Science
  • Facts
  • Hypothesizing
  • Changing my opinion when presented with new information
  • That science and facts can change
  • Reflecting inward continuously
  • Taking responsibility (more about this in my blog posts) as a manager if someone on my team isn’t performing
  • There’s always someone smarter/better than me
  • I don’t know what I don’t know
  • Racism, bigotry, hate speech, is wrong and does exist in the world
  • I will never exactly understand someone else and their perspective

Things that I've Worked on

Here’s a small list of some of the things that I’ve worked on. I’ll have to follow up on this list to write more about these items and post pictures.

  • Complete remodel of my house by myself (no contractors) of walls, lighting, cabinets, etc.
  • Building furniture
    • Built all of the wooden furniture inside and outside along with my kitchen cabinets
    • Built a number of other projects using laser engravers and CNC routers
  • Concrete paver mover
    • Designed and welding a device to pick up set concrete pavers. Used it to move 30”x30” slabs of concrete (weighing approximately 200lbs) to build my patio
  • Engineered a patio canopy for my back yard
  • Build a beer kegerator
  • Using Arduino microcontroller
    • Build a thermostat for my fridge to detect the temperature changes and wired to turn on/off the unit for custom temperatures
    • Automated my kegerator to automatically sense when a glass was set on the top of the frige and then automatically pour a glass of beer. Built using sensor pad and electronically controlled solenoids
  • Wrote a financial planning website
    • Built for financial planners. Capable of immense customization of interest rates, inflation, and more on every account type for any number of custom periods of time. Calculated account growth as well as retirement planning and life insurance needs.
  • Perfecting food recipes
    • My pizza and cookie recipes have taken a number of years but I love them and they’ve received great reviews