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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

This is #3 in a series of interviews where I ask NINE Questions of various interesting people in the technical community. This time, we're talking to Amanda Laucher (aka Pandamonial.)  You can find her blog at

image 1. Ok, let's kick this off with an easy question. Where are you from?
I am from a small town in SW Pennsylvania called Dilliner, originally. Now I live and work in Columbus, Ohio.

2. Who do you work for? Give me the 10 second pitch on them. Why would I want to work there, or why would I want to hire them?
I work for The Sophic Group. I love that they are a small company and that they value their employees involvement in community. They value people more than anything else. Everyone there is phenomenal at what they do. I can't imagine being confronted with a problem that someone there couldn't solve.

3. Very nice, so what brought you to The Sophic Group?
A very trusted friend recommended them to me. She took one of their guys and me out to lunch, as an informal introduction and told me about the quality of their work and their commitment to excellence. After meeting the guys and hearing how they treat their employees, I was completely sold. It felt as though the open position was for someone exactly like me. This reminds me, I need to take her to lunch!

4. I only really know you as "F# Amanda" so I'm curious what else you do. What other areas of technical expertise do you have? 
I know a little about a lot. I have focused mainly on Microsoft languages in the past few years, although I started out at IBM coding Java. I do a lot of Architecture and C# development and I focus on Agile principles. I like to help teams figure out which practices will help to best get stuff done. Sometimes we get caught up in doing things the right way, and forget that in the end it really matters that things get done! Obviously right now, I am spending a lot of time with F#, which has opened my eyes to polyglot programming, and determining the best language for the job.

5. You went to TechEd2008 (Developers) this year. Was it your first time, and what did you think? Worth going back?
This was my first year there. I had a fantastic time and met some extremely interesting people. I certainly learned a lot more than I thought I could during a week away from the office, so I'll definitely be back next year. I made some new friends that I intend to keep in touch with for a very long time!

6. Lots of folks find equal or greater value in the networking, rather than the sessions. Do you agree?  Did you have a favorite session or event?
I agree, there is a ton of value in the networking that goes on at any technical event. I like having a large network of people to turn to with questions. TechEd is such a large event, there is such a great opportunity to diversify your network. I'm not certain what my favorite session or event would be. I really enjoyed the Birds of a Feather discussions. The format was great for networking, and bouncing ideas off of people with experiences I could relate to. I like it when everyone is interacting and feeding off of everyone's energy, makes for some great sessions.

7. I follow you on Twitter and it seems like you're always on the road. Is that travel more for your job or for your community involvement (Code Camps, Days of .NET, User Groups, etc)?
Yes, I travel a lot. I enjoy being surrounded by intelligent people, and these events give me the opportunity to do so. I like to travel and love the fact that I have some knowledge to share along the way. The Sophic Group is extremely supportive of my community involvement. They are one of the few companies that understands that employees community involvement helps everyone, including their clients. I learn something new at every conference I attend, or speak at. I can take that back to the company, and the clients.

8. Any non-technical hobbies?
Wow, good question. I like to watch football during the fall. Ohio State and Pittsburgh Steelers consume my weekends! Tech really is my hobby. Can you believe they pay me for this?! Friends ask if I get stressed out working all of the time. This is what I do to relax! I guess if I want to really relax, I do it by the pool!

9. Last of all, any tattoos?
Not yet, I'll leave it at that.

Posted on Monday, June 16, 2008 8:18 AM General Interest , NINE Questions | Back to top

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