about

I'm a programmer/analyst/technology integrator at Penn State University, currently working as a Programmer/Analyst for Penn State IT Communications. My primary role is to build web sites, assist on university-wide projects, and maintain our team's infrastructure.

Prior to coming to Penn State IT, I spent 6 years in the College of Science as the web manager, responsible for the smooth flow of information from the college and its departments to various web sites. I also served as the lead for the application development group — a small group of programmers who built web applications for the college. During this time I served as the web liaison to the Accessible Information and Technology committee

My primary interest is in building tools and integrating technology to help people work more efficiently. Achieving this goal requires listening, planning, and iterating in relatively short development cycles. Communication and organization are also critical to this process.

My skills, training and experience are documented on this site.

Contact me at jdeluca at psu dot edu.

technology

My unique perspective has been honed through experience in a wide range of organizations — including corporate, non-profit and higher education — during the course of my career.

As a member of a corporate IT department, I worked in a fast-paced, demanding environment that served many large companies throughout the country. Working in higher education has given me the opportunity to keep my skills current and work with a wider range of technologies and top professionals while staying aware of emerging trends.

Specifically, I've served as application development team manager, lead web developer, database programmer, software trainer and instructional technologist.

More detail on technology skills and experience

education

I took my B.S. degree "a few" years ago and that served as a good lesson in how to learn. After several years of working and eventually running a small business, I returned to school for some post-baccalaureate and graduate work to pursue other interests. After that, nearly 20 years ago, I used skills I had learned along the way to begin working in information technology.

During that time, I got technology training any way could. I drove 200 miles round-trip one night a week for an academic year to get network training. I convinced my employers to send me to training for web development and turned around and shared my new found skills with others. I got books, worked through tutorials, asked questions of anybody and everybody who was willing to answer. I sought out and accepted projects that paid little but enabled me to learn new skills. I took jobs not based on the salary, but on the opportunity to learn and work with knowledgeable people. Eventually, I landed a full-time position in an MIS department that gave me the opportunity that I set out to gain.

Getting the degree is great. Learning how to learn is better. Commitment to lifelong learning is essential.

More detail on formal training

leadership

From running a small business very early in my career to supervising interns to leading a team of developers in my current position, my experience as a leader is extensive and varied.

supervisor

As Instruction Coordinator of a residential environmental education center, I supervised the professional education staff, the interns, and the summer staff. Interns came to us from universities throughout the country and we had a regular flow of international interns from countries including France, Germany, and Ghana. Supervsion included training, advising, scheduling and providing both formal and informal evaluations.

trainer

As a computer trainer, I presented programs ranging from week-long courses for practicing teachers on using the internet in the classroom to short sessions focused on learning a specific desktop application. My audiences ranged from aspiring programmers to office workers and from seniors who had never used a computer to kindergarteners who had never known life without computers.

group leader

Perhaps most unique was my experience of leading groups of young people on wilderness expeditions in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota. The week-long trips - designed to build outdoor skills and teach wilderness ethics - provided me with an on-the-job crash course in group dynamics. Bringing that team together during the week was very challenging and most rewarding.

samples

Below are a couple of the public-facing sites that I've worked on.

Polaris 2 Site - Penn State Altoona

Penn State security site

The code for these projects was in a public subversion repository that has been retired. These repositories are now deprecated as migration of this code to our internal Git repository was completed in 2013.
You can see some code samples on bitbucket, but most of my recent work is in private repos.

If you would like to dig through any more of this minutiae, feel free to contact me.

other activities

These have varied over the years, but include writing and photography for publication, music, beekeeping, public radio, serving as a volunteer for the Acoustic Brew (a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a venue for live music), travel, books, gardening, biking, paddling, and more.

More detail other activities