About me

about jeff d stephens

In the beginning…

In 1991 I was attending George Mason University just outside of Washington, DC. I was ending my semester as an Accounting major and hated every Accounting class I was in. As I selected my courses for the upcoming semester I decided to take a computer programming class. That was the beginning of my love for technology.

A spark…

My first course was programming in BASIC. Those first programs were nothing to get excited about but when the program finally worked and did what I intended it to do, I had experienced magic. I was hooked. I switched my major to Management Information Systems (MIS) and dove into programming and everything to do with computers. I cut my teeth on a bit of COBOL, then some Pascal, and ultimately C before jumping headfirst into C++ - it was the hot language emerging at that time.

Living the life…

I graduated school and was hired into the illustrious Systems Engineer Development (SED) program at Electronic Data Systems (EDS). As part of the program, you begin as a Business Associate. I was lucky enough to get to design and deploy Windows for Workgroups and Netware networks for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). We traveled across the country and were literally swapping typewriters for computers and teaching people how to use a mouse. The SED program had 2 phases, learn the business then prove you had what it took. That second part was known as Tech Training.

Tech Training was feared by all that attended. It was a 10 week fully immersive and rigorous test meant to weed out the poor performers. It was full of individual assignments and if you failed the coding tests, you were fired. No joke. I was able to get through training and was offered the sought after position as a Teaching Assistant for the next class. I refused though because I wanted to get to coding in production!

Amazing opportunities…

Over the next 14 years at EDS I was able to create amazing systems using an incredible array of technologies, including multi-modal biometrics, smart cards, RFID, PKI, etc. I continued coding with Java and C++ up to the initial release of .NET and migrated my skills to C#. Some time around 2007 I made the (poor?) decision to walk away from coding and move into solution architecture.

After implementing one of the biggest federal smart card issuance systems in the United States while at EDS, I then moved on to Booz Allen and Hamilton to work on actually using those cards. I worked with the Department of Treasury to implement the Federal Identity and Credential Access Management (FICAM) initiative. I was only there 10 months though as I wasn’t in the weeds deep enough and was itching to go back and get my hands dirty with actual implementation.

I then went to Unisys where I again got to use my architeture skills to field a number of nationwide production systems. Most were related to pedestrian processing using face biometrics and other cool technologies.

The saga continues…

Fast forward to today and I’m currently serving as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for a woman-owned small business in the Washington, D.C. area - Dignari. In my current role I serve as the lead in one of the Emerging Technology branches of a large federal agency. That basically means I get to play with a lot of toys! This includes significant work with biometrics, IoT, cloud, and of course some blockchain. Recently, I’ve rediscovered my love for coding and I’m soaking up all kinds of technologies. I’m mostly focused on React right now but looking forward to continuing to refresh and expand my full stack skills.

Welcome. Let’s do big things…

So, welcome to my website. If you are here you are probably a lot like me and your love for technology is strong. One of the reasons I chose a career in technology is the fact you are constantly learning. I love to expand my horizons and have also done some work in online business, blogging, and podcasting. I also love to write and have been featured on numerous online sites such as Entrepreneur.com. In the end, I try to share my journey exploring innovative technology and creative entrepreneurship in order to hopefully make your journey just a little bit easier. Feel free to reach out and get in touch with me. I’m always looking to learn from others and help out however I can.