About Me

David Taylor


  • My nickname is prooffreader; yes, it's misspelled, get it? I used to be a newspaper copy editor (back when newspapers could afford copy editors) and I misspelled 'wreak' so a nickname was born. (Luckily I seem to be the only person with that nickname on the internet, which either means (a) I'm amazingly original, or (b) it's not a very clever joke.
  • I'm a self-taught Python programmer; I tried to learn C++ out of a big book by myself in 2003 (way before Google and Stackoverflow), and got frustrated and turned to Python (it was version 2.2 at the time), which was WAY EASIER. I had no idea this language would become so marketable one day.
  • I was just a hobbyist until I got a job as an enzyme assay technician in a university in 2009; then someone in the bioinformatics department was looking for someone who knew Python (they were all MATLAB and Perl), so I volunteered, and ended up splitting my time between team leader of enzyme characteriation and enzyme database-slash-Python guy in the bioinformatics lab
  • This was for a fungal enzyme biofuels project that was the largest federal scientific grant ever given; until the Liberals lost an election and the Conservates took over and bye-bye funding
  • I worked as a freelance python developer and data science guy for a few years, and discovered I don't like freelancing. For one thing, I'm my own boss, and I'm a taskmaster on myself. Plus the uncertainty of income is stressful
  • I entered a hackathon in 2015 and won two of the five prizes; one of the judges was the head of analytics for an insurance company, and he offered me a job and off I went!
  • My job there at first was to be the only data scientist and Python programmer in a team of actuaries and SAS programmers. It was an experience! Good for the ego when everyone comes to you to scrape webpages or connect to a Linux server
  • Over time the team and its expertise grew and I shifted into more of a data engineering-slash-mentoring role. I was also the 'Best Practices Guru', from version control to code review to testing.
  • You know, the header of this section says 'QUICK FACTS' and I think it might not be accurate.
  • I'm a dual American/Canadian citizen. I get to pay taxes in both countries, because the US is the only country besides ERITREA that taxes its expatriates!
  • I grew up all around the Midwest US, ending up in Ohio, before moving to Quebec at 12 years old, not speaking a word of French. Luckily my Mom is a francophone French teacher, so it didn't take me long to pick it up. People from France giggle at my English/Quebecois accent, though.
  • I did effortlessly well in high school, which of course didn't prepare me for University where you have to make an effort. Luckily that was the last time in my life anything came easy to me.
  • I had planned to be a lawyer, I got a perfect score in the Law School Admission Test, but I was young so the McGill Law department told me to just get a bachelor's in anything, "Pick something you enjoy!" the said
  • So I studied classical music. I was music-adjacent most of my life, self-taught on piano and guitar and a decent singing voice. I became an opera singer! By the time I graduated I felt so cool in the arts scene I didn't want to be a suit, so lawyerdom faded from the horizon.
  • Being a professional opera singer is HARD. I made a decent go of it, but when a community newspaper was looking for a copy editor, I signed up.
  • I moved to Edmonton where I became Editor in Chief of an Alternative Newsweekly (when those where still a thing) and copy editor for a major daily
  • Then I went through a divorce and came back to Quebec to be with my family. I wrote two novels. They SUCKED. I'm a good short story and poetry writer, but long form isn't for me. So I picked up programming
  • I just realized I'm kinda telling this story backwards.
  • And the QUICK FACTS is increasingly misnamed. So I'd better stop here!

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