…I found something inside myself that I didn’t know was there. I was working harder and learning more than I ever had before. I was being more responsible in other parts of my life as well, and it changed me into a real adult, more than any other experience in my life.
Spencer Krum, known in the CAT as Nibalizer, began as a General Science major at PSU. He became involved in building robots with other students at the Maseeh College of Engineering. It was Greg Haynes, a fellow student and robotics enthusiast, that sparked his interest in Computer Science.
I remember my first few forays into the basement very well. I was surrounded by hackers, people were all working on cool programming projects like Tron AI Bots and Starcraft chat systems. It seemed that the only thing that wasn’t being worked on was homework.
From Computer Science, it was a small step to join the CAT. Spencer began the Braindump in the Fall of 2010. Spencer reminisces, “…my favorite thing about the CAT is the way someone can join the Braindump with zero computer experience and, if they’re motivated about it, they can learn everything to Claw level and beyond.” Spencer was motivated and, over the course of the Braindump, got involved in the Unix/Linux team and the Networking team. He was able to work his way up to CLAW level, gaining senior administrative privileges. “When you become a CLAW, the full-time admins and director look at you like an equal, perhaps less experienced, but they listen to your ideas and don’t throw it out just because you’re a student. And at the same time, they make it clear that your responsibilities are high. There is no more hand-holding. You have to figure things out on your own and do it quickly.”
Spencer was an active member of the CAT until recently. He was presenting at a DevOps group about his experiences in the CAT when he was approached by UTI Worldwide Inc. “The people who are now my bosses were impressed with my knowledge and speaking presence and they came up to me to offer me a job.” He began working for UTI in July of 2013.
This is the flip side of “The Deal” that is offered by the CAT through the Braindump. “We want participation in the CAT Braindump to be a two-way street,” says Janaka, head of the CAT. “While we definitely want to benefit from the fruits of their labors, we really want to prepare them for a workplace where technologies and methodologies change rapidly.” While we are sad to lose someone who we have worked with for 3 years, we wish Nibalizer luck and are happy to have had him as part of the team.