Getting to Know Software Engineer Perry Kankam

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In this Podcast, Getting to Know Software Engineer Perry Kankam, we discuss…


17:02Work Projects

  Staff Page – Perry Kankam

Danny Ryan: It’s Friday, June 28th and it’s episode 200. Today I sit down with Perry Kankam and we talk about his career. If you’d I’d like to get to know him better, please listen to this podcast. Thanks for listening. Hi and welcome to the Work Together Better podcast, this is your host Danny Ryan. This is ThreeWill’s official podcast about enterprise collaboration, how people process in technology combined to help organizations, departments and teams work together better. I’m here with Perry Kankam, am I saying that right, did I get that right? 


Perry: Yeah, you got. 


Danny Ryan: Let’s get that started out all right. Let’s get started out. Getting to know him a little bit better, and just want to spend a little bit of time with him to get some background on his career and get to know maybe some of his hobbies and stuff that he likes to do. You didn’t have to do this because you are certified. Yes. What are you certified in? Let’s get that started. 


Perry: MCSD Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer. 


Danny Ryan: Excellent. How’d the studying for that go? Was it difficult, easy, how was the experience? 


Perry: It was three exams. None of them were easy, but the second one was super tough because I had to take that one twice and then- 


Danny Ryan: All right. 


Perry: The third one surprisingly I got it right the first time. But studying for that was a whole another ball game. 


Danny Ryan: So what were the exams are, what were the, each of the exams on? Was it on the language or- 


Perry: Yeah they were all languages, first one was, they were more specific. Our first one was like CSS, Java, JavaScript, html stuff, which normally sounded like the most simple, but they just Microsoft just knows how to make it not simple but second one was language two, third one was more application if I remember correctly. 


 More Azure stuff and what not. So it was, studying for that was pretty vague because there was no, and Azure is completely new to me too, so that the second two were like super tough to study for but- 


Danny Ryan: Nice. Well you feel like you’re in better shape now in upcoming projects, then we’ve got some exposure to some things you want to go do with projects. 


Perry: Yeah, definitely. And I actually did work with Chris on something that I actually, I had to use something that I use I studied on exam. I obviously don’t remember everything I studied, but I have an idea of broad idea of most of the things and when it comes, when it comes to the time to use them, it would just be a quick brush up. 


Danny Ryan: So you can refer back to it and go back to it but you know where to look for it. 


Perry: Exactly. 


Danny Ryan: I think some of those exams are just good to give you a sort of a broad sweep of different things that you might not know about unless you went out and studied for it. 


Perry: Yeah, because it was a lot, probably over 80 different topics total, so. 


Danny Ryan: Wow. 


Perry: It’s a lot, our study guides looked, they look different. It was a lot of topics for each of them or was always a bunch of topics. So we had to go through and I had to go through personally. So there’s no way I can remember all of that. But for what I currently like, it was like five days ago actually. Four or five days ago. And I actually had to do something creating a model and that was cool. 


Danny Ryan: Awesome. So let’s jump back in time. Way back when, what did you study in school, why did you study it, what were you hoping to be when you grew up? 


Perry: So actually growing up, I wanted to be a pilot. I’m still going to do it, but it’s just going to be private. 


Danny Ryan: Nice. 


Perry: But I had an uncle who became a network engineer and when I was younger, I’m one of five boys. I was always the one that would always go steal a phone, play with it, fix a phone when it gets broken. So it was like tech was a part of it, but my family wasn’t really exposed to too much technology. And I lived in Ghana for 17 years, so kind of West Africa. And my family was not too exposed to tech. We didn’t know, we never thought about that side of things that it could be lucrative and it’s actually a good career path because mostly in Ghana, most of my family, most of the successful people in my family are always entrepreneurs. 


 So they always start something or they’re doing something business-related, working in a bank or something. So we just never had that much, that much knowledge about the whole career path of an IT, whatever tech you do. So my uncle went to school in England and he graduated and he had a really good job and he started this company and he was a network engineer so that really caught my eye, and that caught my mom’s side too. So obviously because he was making a lot of money. So I had to talk with him, I didn’t really like the network part path. I was super young at that time. So I did some research and when it was time for college, my older brother was already in Wisconsin. That’s where I went for college unfortunately. 


Danny Ryan: Why unfortunately, because it’s cold up, there? 


Perry: Is too much going on at Wisconsin. But no, I enjoyed myself. I’m joking. I think wherever you end up in life, the people you have around you always make or break it. So when it was time to come to college, it was between, my brother was already doing business, so that was probably what I would’ve done just to say I went to college honestly. But cause he was already doing that, I was the second and it wouldn’t make sense to go do the same thing he was doing. So I got the list of majors I could select from and I seen computer science and I was like, “Oh, let me do this.” And my brother tries to scare me off. He told me it involved a lot of math and I was like, “I don’t know, I will just play by today, see how it goes.” And that’s how computer science came about. So I had wanted to be a pilot until like I was 13, 14 and it was just switch off that. 


Danny Ryan: Nice. And so then, that was actually your brother where are you age wise with your, you said you have five brothers? 


Perry: Yep. Five. 


Danny Ryan: Were you in the middle or the end or where are you in? 


Perry: I’m the second. The first one’s birthday is actually tomorrow. He turns 29 tomorrow. I turned 25 last month. So it’s about four years. Give or take. The one after me is two years. Every one down is two years, except the last one, which is like another five years. 


Danny Ryan: Any other family here in the states at all? 


Perry: We are, we’re spread out all over the, my older brother’s in San Diego. He’s a quality assurance and he’s QA.  Me I’m here, the third is in Wisconsin. He’s in college right now doing biology. No, sorry. The third is in China. The fourth is in Wisconsin, the third is in China. Yeah, I saw your face. China. Yeah. China. He’s not in Wisconsin, the third is in China. He’s doing civil engineering in China. 


 He just wanted something different. I don’t know why or how he got to China, but he loves it there. So I should be visiting him. He’s been there for a while actually, but I’ve just been procrastinating because those flights are so long. 


Danny Ryan: Kudos to your parents. Sounds like you guys are all[crosstalk 00:08:07] 


Perry: And the fourth. The last one is in Ghana. He still in Ghana, he just turned 15. So He’s super young. But he should be joining us soon I don’t think he wants to go to China, he’s going to be here. 


Danny Ryan: Awesome. So you end up, in Wisconsin, computer science degree. What did you end up doing after that? 


Perry: So after Wisconsin, it was like a little curse, I guess in Wisconsin, like everybody just stayed after college. They would talk so much about how it was cold and how they wanted to leave, but I guess it was just a lot of fear and just getting up and going. 


 So my older brother stayed. Everyone I know who was older than me, all the friends I had in college, never moved, but they all talked about it. So graduating in college in 2015 of May, I actually had an offer to stay in Wisconsin and I didn’t have a job yet in Atlanta, but I knew I wanted to move. So around like I graduated I think like mid May of 2015 so around like May 3rd, I magically got an interview and it had, it was a full interview on Skype. I didn’t have to be in Georgia or anything. So that meant something. And I went through with that and I got an offer and the offer Wisconsin was like a lot, lot, lot more. So I felt like it was just God testing my endurance and how much I really wanted to leave. So obviously my mom wanted me to stay because it was more money. My brother thought it was a good idea. Everybody wanted me to stay because I didn’t no one soul in Atlanta. 


Danny Ryan: What attracted you to… why Atlanta? 


Perry: So, I just feel like Atlanta is like the perfect spot in America because it was between LA and Atlanta. There are a lot of natural disasters in LA. So that drawed me back a little bit. I feel like Atlanta is like, I know there are tornadoes, but I’ve not experienced anything. I’ve been here four years and it gets cold, but it’s not cold. It’s not crazy. It’s very diverse. It’s a lot of opportunities here. And at that time I had read an article about how there are going to be tax breaks. So a lot of companies were moving and bringing their headquarters down to Atlanta. So it was like perfect timing. 


 So I was like, if I’m doing tech, every company has a tech part of it, so why not just look into this market? LA is a little overcrowded. Why not look into Atlanta’s market and see what you can get out of there. So I visited in 2013 for my brother’s birthday. Obviously, it was just for fun. Nothing crazy. Just come see what it was like. Because my brother also wanted to move to Atlanta after college, but he never did. But pretty much lot loved it, very different from Wisconsin, when I first came here, although I was in a really tight college budget, it was still really fun and I had a great time. So I felt like besides all those opportunities that will come after college because of the various research I had done, I just felt like there was a balance of everything. 


 I can have some fun, I can get serious, I can make money, I can meet great people. It was like perfect for me. So Atlanta just seemed right and my soul would just not leave it alone. So I had just turned, when I graduated, I had just turned 21, so I was young. So my mom was a little worried about me moving and not knowing anybody here. And I just told her, worst case scenario, I’ll just come back if it doesn’t work. So move to Atlanta in-town suites in north coast, roaches, cigarette-smelling mattresses. It was tedious. It was very different from anything I was ever used to. And I think that was probably the lowest point on my life so far. Not so far, I hope that’s the lowest point. 


 I don’t ever want to reach that point again. But it was, I’ve always gone around people were five boys growing up with like the age limit, the age differences were not too huge. So I’ve always been around people going to college, I had a lot of friends, but over here it was like the first time I was really alone and I mean like really alone. Like the only friend I had was the guy at the reception at the hotel. Well not really hotel but In-town suites, if you know what that is. 


Danny Ryan: Sure. 


Perry: Extended stay and it was very sanity testing because I’d go to work, come home and just be in those four corners. It was crazy. It was very different for me. So I was there for like a whole month. 


Danny Ryan: Moving down here. Did you feel like as, I’d like to say that at least in Atlanta and the south, that people are at least friendly to you, that, did you notice any difference as far as how you were treated when you came down here at all or what was the, when you say it was different down here, what were some of the differences? 


Perry: So besides the most outstanding one, which is the weather, the accent, it was very different. I had to get used to that. I had to, people have to repeat themselves a lot of times, because coming to America, I thought everybody spoke the same, but it’s really not, New York and Atlanta is a whole different ball game. But that was another thing I felt like people treated me not necessarily nice. I just felt like people have a little more time for you here. Like if they ask how your day is going and they actually don’t mind hearing how your day is going, if they have the time. But in Wisconsin is just like a greeting. Like, it’s a small city and that’s one another thing I like here, it’s not a small city, in Wisconsin, you would just see the same faces like a few times. 


 And I wasn’t used to that. I didn’t really like that. But main difference for sure, weather, which I really love because it reminds me of the weather back home in the summertime, accents and opportunities for sure. But it was very, very daunting when I first, like my first week here, I was like a week after I was packing to go back. But I just only stayed because I just didn’t want to hear any, “I told you so.” That was really- 


Danny Ryan: Persistence is good. 


Perry: That was really the only reason I just wanted to prove them wrong because everybody, literally everyone who would graduated that I know never moved before, so they all told me so. So I would’ve had a lot of those in my face, so that definitely was not going to happen. So that’s definitely, I’m glad I put myself in that situation because I really would’ve moved back. 


Danny Ryan: Now you’ve been doing some pretty cool projects from what I understand and started to, I have to get this whole thing kicked off with, give you a your license plate has XML on it. Okay. I gotta get back story on that. Tell me about that and then I want to go into some maybe some projects and some stuff that you’ve been excited about doing recently. 


Perry: Sure. So back to my uncle, which is probably like, definitely my first mentor, he still is like, I really hold them to really high standards in my life. So after I learned the whole stuff about tech and whatnot while selecting my major for college, I was a little older that by then I was doing more research and I didn’t even know like computers use languages or anything. So one of the first things I came across one it like the first language I came across with a little red highlights and everything was XML. And I just felt like it looked cool and if I ever understood this, I will be one of those cool guys. So that was like really one of the things that I was like, this looks difficult, but I feel like if I make it a challenge to actually understand this one day, I feel like I would be so cool. So that’s really where XML came from. 


Danny Ryan: Mr, I’ll just call you Mr XML. 


Perry: When it was time to get a license plate. I was like, why not make it a monumental piece? 


Danny Ryan: It was available right?  


Perry: It was available surprisingly, and I was really surprised it was available. 


Danny Ryan: So for people driving around Atlanta, if you are behind a car that the license plate is XML, we now know who it is. So recent projects, tell me some fun stuff you’ve been working over, like a project work that you’ve been enjoying doing recently. 


Perry: Sure. One of the not too recent but pretty different that I really enjoyed was a huge Telecom Fortune 500 company. And we had to, well I was the only developer on that project so I had to create some Angular forms for the internal services pretty much. And it was from scratch for Angular 2 and I had to integrate that into their SharePoint and create some Workflows and make sure it worked with it and everything that was last year. That was a big project it took a while. It was a lot of learning to do while I was going, a lot of help from people. Obviously I was the only developer so the lead helped a lot. And even like random people around who I would just ask for help. 


 Like Matthew helped me a lot on that project because he is very fluent in Angular. So I had, I learned Angular by myself. Most of the languages I know it’s self-tutored and it’s different when you have to actually apply it to real life projects. So it takes a little explanation, then I’m like, “I remember that” Then I can get it done. So now I’m learning that part of things so that I don’t have to do too much asking, but when I need to, there’s always someone available. So the teamwork here is amazing. Another project I am currently working on this another Fortune 500 company, payroll company, which it’s a giant migration, but I’m doing the utility tool. I’m adding some more features to it so that we can migrate. For example, they want to migrate, user bookmarks. We don’t currently do that. 


 So I’m adding some more features to the tool so we can migrate user features, user bookmarks. I have done a lot of  utility tool work and this utility tool is for migrating from Jive to SharePoint. I have done a lot of that. I’ve done, I’m currently doing that for this company I’m talking about. I’ve also done it. My past two projects was for that utility tool. I’ve played in double a lot in there. I’ve done a lot of different things like adding new features, maintaining actually changing database, stuff, doing a lot of database things, adding database models. And the last project was actually for a company in France very different. Very huge company I’ve seen them a lot around after that. 


Danny Ryan: Now you notice them everywhere? 


Perry: Yes. 


Danny Ryan: I was in the airport the other day and I saw their signs all over the place right. 


Perry: I seen it in Spain, I see everywhere. So that’s cool that. So every time I’m with my friends and we spot one, I’m like, “Yeah, I did work for them.” So that is cool and that was also a Jive to SharePoint. Chris has been a monumental piece. Chris and Kirk with the whole, I don’t know if I can name drop in this. 


Danny Ryan: Sure. You can absolutely. Absolutely. But if you’re saying nice things, if you’re saying mean things. 


Perry: Those are a few I mean, everybody has helped, but yeah, I’m Chris, Kirk, Caroline, when I, my very first project did getting me up to speed and making me feel comfortable in the ThreeWill environment. 


Danny Ryan: It’s awesome. 


Perry: Right. That last project was another amazing one. I think I’ve done probably five, no, not five. Definitely more than five. Now I’ve been put on projects midway. I’ve also worked on, trucking companies. It was a small project that I did in May, which was basically, some SharePoint tweaks and added some automation to make things work smoother and basically save them time. So they have to do, they don’t have to do all the manual work. 


Danny Ryan: Kudos to you for not only you’re picking up the technology but you’re doing it and consulting function, which adds a little, it’s difficult, right? 


Perry: It’s different. Thank you. 


Danny Ryan: That’s awesome. You and that the types of companies and situations, you are also, that’s huger. Because there’s a difference. It’s nice to get some to build like line of business sort of applications that small teams need. But then you’re also getting some of the, what I would classify as like product development type of things where we’re building out the utility and it’s like, how do we do this? So it’s not just going to work for one client, but it’s also repeatable for upcoming projects. That’s also in part of why I’ve just been hearing such…  and my job is just listening to what’s going on inside of ThreeWill, we hear your name coming up. And it’s just great to hear you taking on things and doing such a great job. And we just, we love having you here and appreciate you taking the time just to, this will give a chance for people to get to know you a little bit better. 


Perry: Apparently I don’t talk enough. 


Danny Ryan: No, I mean actually- 


Perry: No, I agree with them. 


Danny Ryan: You know, how it is everybody’s business. 


Perry: Heads down exactly. 


Danny Ryan: But just getting to know a little bit about your background and, I think I just, you’re, this environment that we’re in, we try to create an environment where people do get to chance to not only work together and do great things together, but also it feels a little, we want it to be a little bit like a family type of environment where we get to know the whole person, not just what you’re doing on projects. 


Perry: Yeah, totally. 


Danny Ryan: So we love having you here. Thanks. Congratulations on all you’ve done so far. 


Perry: Thank you so much. 


Danny Ryan: And you’re beyond XML. You realize that? I’m going to check for Angular. What’s the next plate that you’re going to- 


Perry: Either need a longer plate or a lot more cars. 


Danny Ryan: You should just start putting bumper stickers on the back of the car and like all the different technology you pick up. That’s like your status symbol, right guys, you got to put all the different technologies picking up on the back of your car. 


Perry: I have picking up picked up a lot so far since I’ve been here for sure. Before you up here, I just wanted to give a shout out to Will. He’s been, he has done a lot for me at ThreeWill from getting me a lot of knowledge to make things easy and smooth for me. And also I’ve worked with them on a few projects and he was lead and he’s just always been there and whenever I needed help he was always there to deliver. Pete has also been, I mean we all know Pete is the man, so, and I just wanted to make sure that I mentioned those two people in addition to the ones that I did and if there are no other names shares, everybody’s just been great. The teamwork’s amazing. I know I’m missing a name or two, but yeah. 


Danny Ryan: Awesome. Well thank you for taking the time to do this. Thank you everybody for listening and have a wonderful day. Good bye. 


Perry: Good bye. 


Danny Ryan: Thank you for listening to the Work Together Better podcast, we’re available on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re looking for a partner to help you craft a modern digital workplace in the Microsoft cloud, please come by and see us that’s the number three spelled out, Thank you and have a great day. 


Danny RyanGetting to Know Software Engineer Perry Kankam

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