In most people's minds, English and Computer Science go together like polka dots and plaid. In the world of computer programming, though, it's well known that some of the best computer scientists also excel in writing. The job of a coder is not just to write great code, it's also to communicate complex ideas in simple to understand language. With a degree in English and over 30 years of experience as a programmer, Patrick Burrows, owner of Burrows Technology Corporation, has uniquely positioned himself to offer services that go beyond just writing code or building an app.
"After working my way through school as a programmer, I graduated from UCF in 1998 and went to work for a local time and attendance company," Burrows said. "I wrote time clock software. That company was eventually purchased by Paychex and then sold to our main competitor. I decided to branch off on my own before that happened, and I’ve never been happier. I've always loved creative writing, and with my computer programming abilities, I was able to marry my two passions."
In July 2008, Burrows founded Burrows Technology Corporation. Services include Software Development Consulting; Modernizing Legacy Applications; Mobile Application Development; Cloud Based Applications; and Customized Training in Microsoft .Net, NodeJs and Typescript based solutions.
Even for Burrows, a confident seasoned programmer, launching his own business and leaving a stable job was an emotional roller coaster fraught with challenges.
"When I first started, I didn't have any clients," he said. "It was scary, but I felt confident that I could always go back and get a job. I did, however, eat up all my 401(k) and had to live off savings for the first year. It was difficult learning to stay focused and self-disciplined without a boss standing over your shoulder asking if you were done yet. Learning the marketing and sales side of things was also a challenge. Eventually, though, I started doing more and more work, adding one client at a time, and the business grew through word of mouth."
Along the way, Burrows also launched Wordslingr.com. Drawing on his passion for writing, Burrows designed a platform for writers to capture ideas, organize thoughts, collaborate with others and to get feedback on their writing. Wordslingr also provides users with a set of robust publishing features to set cover art; create a table of contents; apply custom formatting styles; and to publish file formats for Amazon, iTunes, EPub, PDF, Word Processors or HTML.
Burrows thoroughly enjoys every part of his business: whether it's writing articles, code, or working with other companies to teach their programmers the latest programming languages. "Honestly, I like every part of what I do," he said. "I love solving problems and learning about the businesses I work with. Figuring out how they work and how to improve their processes is challenging, but also extremely rewarding."
Looking ahead, Burrows is committed to the future growth of Burrows Technology Corporation and Wordslingr. He's working on a newsletter that goes into more detail on writing techniques, story crafting and how to read like a writer. He's hoping to add staff and hire additional writers.
What advice does Burrows have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Honestly, it would be hard for me to just quit my job and start a new business now that I have a wife and kids," he said. "On my own it's a different level of risk. To reduce some of that risk, start your business as a side-business. Work on your business nights and weekends and whenever you have spare time. Validate your idea as quickly as possible, and get some people to quickly say, ‘yes, I’ll pay for that.’ Getting early feedback is crucial."