Allan Taylor gets paid to do his job as an associate programmer analyst for the State of California, but as a volunteer, his expertise has gone to the dogs. Fair-haired dogs specifically, as he provides his talent as web administrator to the nonprofit Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary.
Taylor began working for the state in 1998 as an office assistant at the California Board of Accountancy (CBA). Although he built his first computer as a high school sophomore, he says he “was afraid of ruining the fun” of his favorite thing by doing it as a career.
After 15 years working as a plumber, however, Taylor decided it was time to pursue his passion.
Getting hired by finding needs
He began by taking courses in programming and also did plenty of research and learning on his own. While employed as an office assistant, he created an intranet for the CBA on his own time. He presented it to his boss, saying they could use it if they wished. The boss loved it and immediately put it into use. So when a programming analyst position opened up, CBA already knew he was qualified and he got the job. Taylor says this approach can be useful when people wish to break into a new field. “If you see a need, fill it,” says Taylor.
The mission of the CBA is to ensure that only qualified, licensed accountants provide services to the public. The board also investigates complaints about specific practitioners and enforces the revocation or suspension of licenses for certified public accountants when necessary.
As part of the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs, the board also provides education, reference materials and tips on tax-related issues for the public. Since a large portion of the CBA functions require database and web management, Taylor has a lot on his plate.
Getting educated, staying educated
His education in web design has been particularly useful on the job and Taylor says he remains in continuous learning mode. Changes come at a fast and furious pace in the field of information technology, and he always concentrates on keeping current.
Taylor has stayed with the CBA throughout his career because he is lucky enough to enjoy his job. “I love what I do and I love the Board of Accountancy” he says, the work, the culture and the people. He also enjoys the opportunity to go to seminars as part of his job. Taylor recently attended a five-day training conference on the latest and greatest in HTML and CSS. He describes the seminar as “awesome and incredibly useful.”
Taylor says that he appreciates that his employer sees employee development as an investment in the future, just one more reason he loves his job.
For those interested in joining the field of information technology, Taylor suggests focusing on programming for mobile devices, Apple’s IOS and Android platforms. “The future of the web is mobile devices,” he adds.
For his part, he enjoys using his skills to maintain and improve the dog rescue’s website. Taylor, his wife Lori and daughters Tiffany and Cassie all volunteer for Homeward Bound, doing everything from feeding and fostering to laundry and dishes.
Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.