As a software engineer in Bay Area, I’m a Linux geek fond of shell scripting, fluent in Scala, Java and SQL. I enjoy the freedom of open source tools, the challenges of testing, the elegance of responsive web design, and the zen of optimizing code or queries.
I like to take things apart to see how they work. My interests include test automation, vulnerability and load testing. I earned two Master’s degrees in Computer Science and in Instructional Design and Technology from Western Illinois University and I am dedicated to creating scalable, reusable, well-documented and intuitive systems and tools.
I am inspired by the talent behind creative writing and digital art, the ingenuity of free and open source software contributors, the collaboration and support of intersecting LGBTQA and immigrant communities. A personal achievement I look back on with pride is teaching my wife Andi how to install and use a Linux operating system.
I was born and raised in Uralsk before coming to the U.S. My wife Andi is from a much smaller town in Colorado. We are a binational couple directly affected by the Defense of Marriage Act.
Six years after we originally exchanged rings and vows in 2005, we crossed Mississippi river to Iowa to marry again: months before our then-home state, Illinois, began recognizing civil unions. Shortly afterwards, in Spring 2011, we filed our marriage-based green card petition in defiance of DOMA, pressing the immigration judge and later the interviewing official at the USCIS Chicago Field Office, to treat our marriage equally.
The journey changed our life.
As I fill out my passport application on a sunny Bay Area weekend, I think back to the fifteen-year-old adventurer with her first, and only, passport picture (Азаматтығы/гражданство/nationality: Kazakhstan) taken for the first time in Uralsk in preparation for her travels. In May, 1997, this fifteen-year-old had seen the rolls of perforated paper tape but had yet to touch a computer keyboard. She was excited to see the world. She spent her school years learning two languages besides her own, quoting an encyclopedia, diving into mathematical formulas and graphs, and absorbing the contents of her home and town library because learning everything she could about the universe around her made her very happy.
A while back I spoke with a group of young men and women from San Francisco International High School as part of Changemakers project organized by their teachers. How I wish I had been given a chance to learn the same lessons at fifteen: that making change in our communities starts with someone unafraid to speak out. Our meeting was extraordinary not just because it happened in my lifetime, but because it took place at all.
Sunshine. There’s so much sun and warmth to wake me up from Midwest winter hibernation, though the weather in Silicon Valley is refreshingly cool, all year around. I am still getting used to seeing sunlit sky every single day and not having to worry about winter clothes. Air. The air here makes me aware of each breath I take. It’s dry and cool, and invigorating. Nothing beats that fresh morning breeze from the lake, with the scent of pine and blossoms of the season.