Picture of BlakeBlake Praharaj

Cell: +1(443) 653-4573

Email: blakekp@gmail.com <- Contact me for custom software solutions tuned to your business needs by Code Blake Solutions LLC!

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Resume: Click to download (PDF)

I am currently updating my website however to hold you over here is a small peice of writing I did to sum up my journey into software engineering.

15 years ago I had my heart broken.

I arrived at my undergraduate university with a smile on my face and an acceptance letter to their Bioengineering program in my hands. From my earliest memories of reading books teaching me the power of the scientific method as a child, to my pre-collegiate pipe dreams of harnessing the power of RNA to turn reverse transcriptase viruses into a way to perform genetic manipulations on humans to help others one thing had always been constant, I loved to experiment! When I arrived at UMD I was so excited to finally establish a path into a scientific career, a career focused on experimentation where I could use my insatiable thirst to learn for the good of all of mankind! My head was filled with dreams based on my perception of great scientists: the ability to analyze and experiment iteratively, to brainstorm ideas and bring them into reality, to be humbled by the brilliance of my colleagues, a career which fulfilled my zest for rapid critical thought and tied it to action...

And then I saw how laboratories worked, I saw how research was based on funding, I saw how grant selection processes stifled experimentation, and I saw that while steady handed, I was just not that great at pipetting. After seeing the realities of the scientific community my stomach sank, my dreams of rapid experimentation were shattered, I was stranded, a sail without wind, I was heartbroken.

After that I transfered to sociology. If Bioengineering couldn't be what I wanted it to be then I wanted to analyze and help society in other ways. I would save the downtrodden of the world! I learned many things about society, statistics, economics, social psychology, human motivations, team dynamics, personality types (I am a happy ENTP) and how people are affected by others in so many different ways. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in sociology and like many people with sociology undegrads ended up working full time in an unrelated role at the port of Baltimore (I am from Baltimore and worked at the port part time since I was 15).

After a few months of working 60-70 hour weeks on piers I knew things had to change. Although my work involved both physical and mathematical aspects, I did not feel challenged intellectually. I moved out of state for an inspirational reboot and decided I was going to go back to school and find my intellectual playing field. I walked through the doors of the local state university having never written a line of code in my life and applied to their masters CS program. After some discussion they encouraged me to take a 100 level class over the summer to see how I would take to it before they would accept me. I took to it well, they accepted me, and suddenly everything clicked.

I had found a world where I could face complex problems, where I could beat my head against a question until I got the amazing rush of finding an elegant solution to something I thought was impossible. Where I could try something new to solve an issue, work to refine it into something poetic, and finally experiment on a whim without needing to spend ten years getting a grant proposal passed. If I didn't understand something I could look deeper into it and learn online late at night when it would bug me, or think about it while in the shower or while driving. If something didn’t work I tweaked it and ran the code over and over again until it did, then I got to refine it even more, a field for true experimentation!

I had found my home.

I graduated with a 4.0 and my masters degree after defending a thesis tying together Nash equilibriums to pareto optimal sets using Nash coefficients for objective weight to solve multi objective genetic algorithms. I found that my previous love of biology and sociology had long been tied to this field through algorithmic structures inspired by nature and principles of resource utilization and distribution. Most of all I had found that CS was the best tool I could ever hope for to make the world a better place.

I started coding for an informatics startup post series B and loved my job, I excelled in the fast paced, many-hatted work environment of a startup(I was promoted to an engineer 2 before I even finished my masters degree.) I was so very happy to be able to aid others in their scientific goals and impact the world in a positive way while learning from my colleagues. The company ended up selling and I joined Thermo Fisher Scientific where I was blessed enough to lead teams, code, and help others cure diseases. I then moved on to start to apply myself to the field of AI with a great startup named Algorithmia working to aid exciting clients such as the UN to harness the power of data in order to help the world! After some hard work we were purchased by a larger company named DataRobot specifically due to some of the features I had implemented! This gave me the chance to offer world class ML solutions to plenty of clients, while also running teams to help secure and monitor the platform. Next I accepted an offer working with Chainalysis working on the government systems team. This role allows for me to help keep people safe from those who use blockchains to finance and enact malicious actions or evade accountability for their funds, all while working with different ethically focused governmental organizations across the globe. This also helps to add legitimacy to technology that can help us create predictable and stable financial systems for all of society.

Now I have found myself harnessing my creative passions and starting my own company, it is time to start the next phase of my life and career, more to come on that soon stay posted!

My journey has been long and filled with lessons that I apply to the workplace. Be it the interactions of members on a team, algorithmic inspiration, or scientific experimentation each piece of the puzzle was slowly handed to me to create the Engineer I am today.