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Welcome to my online home. I’m Ching, your host on chingchang.org.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, I first set foot on American soil as a 17 year-old college student. I received my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During my junior year, I worked for Datex-Ohmeda (now GE Healthcare). This local Madison company manufactures critical care equipment and gave me my first industry experience. I was charged with writing automated tests which hooked into the hardware board of an anesthesia machine to change settings and collect sensor data. It was fascinating to watch the anesthesia machine inflate and deflate the latex lung to the commands of my test program.

I was accepted into a graduate program at Boston University, where I went to pursue a doctoral degree in Computer Science on database theory. Though theoretical computer science was a fun challenge, I soon realized I am most interested actually building applications — not writing papers on them. This passion led me to compete in Imagine Cup 2005 (an annual collegiate software contest organized by Microsoft) and win a place in the Top 10 US Finalists. After seeing the devastation caused by the 2004 South East Asia tsunami, I prototyped a text-over-IP system that broadcasts emergency information via text messages to cellphones or email inboxes. This concept was similar to the one on which Twitter was later originated.

Soon after, I was invited to a grueling day of interviews with Microsoft. I opted to complete a masters degree rather than a doctorate in my thesis on utilizing reference locality to optimize the performance of join algorithms between data streams. After being offered a position, I wrapped up my thesis, packed my things, and moved to the Pacific Northwest.

For three years, I was a part of the manageability team in SQL Server (Management Studio) where I discovered my love for designing and developing user interface. I was one of the key developers that created Performance Data Warehouse in SQL Server 2008. It was awesome to work on a product that is visible to thousands/millions of customers, but I was tired of the bureaucracy and needed a change.

I joined a “start-up” (if such thing still existed at Microsoft) team within SQL Server – Parallel Data Warehouse and was relocated to Southern California. There I was the sole developer building a web-based administration console for the product. After a year or so I was re-org’ed to the Engine team where I spent most of my time working on the health monitoring agent, metadata framework, and the mid-tier API.

In January 2013, I decided to exercise my new-found freedom as a Green Card holder and spend six months backpacking around South America with my partner. Our many adventures included camping in the Galapagos Islands, living on a rural farm in Peru, and surviving the slums of Bolivia. There was plenty of time for introspection and we finally decided moving to Seattle was our next step. After a long road trip camping our way along the West Coast with our dogs, we are residing in the Pacific Northwest and ready for our next adventure!

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