The leap from studying insects to computer science was an easy one for Eddie Atkinson. An entomologist by training, Atkinson was exposed to programming after a C++ undergraduate course. His interest was piqued as he saw a correlation between the scientific method and how programming works.
Now, weeks before graduating from DigitalCrafts 16-week Immersive Program with a concentration on Computer Science Fundamentals + Code Challenge Preparation, Atkinson is ready to expand his knowledge of mobile technology and find a way to use his skills to improve people’s lives. This junior programmer is seriously buzzing — learn more about him below.
What is your previous education?
I have a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, where I majored in physics and philosophy. I also have a PhD from the University of Florida in the field of entomology, which is the study of insects. My dissertation focused on the relationship between honey bees and one of its pests, the small hive beetle.
Why the interest in the technology field?
I took an introduction to C++ course as an undergraduate student long ago and loved it. Then, the class was over and I had new classes to distract me, so I never did anything with it. Obviously, the technology field is, and will be for the foreseeable future, relevant.
My interest stems from my love of math. Entomology research and even physics research are always muddied up by the real world. I feel that computer science is the closest thing to a physical representation of math that exists in the sciences.
What projects have you worked on?
My wife and I own a pre-school photography business. She has been developing an idea for a non-profit company which focuses on capturing and donating professional photographs to children in the foster care system, providing a seamless history of beautiful, happy photographs for them wherever they go. One of my main projects that I worked on during the course was a website for this company, which, along with the rest of the project group, really pushed us to do the best we could with our newly-acquired skill-set for a cause we genuinely believed in.
How do you stay informed and on-top of emerging trends?
For class, I was introduced to Slack, which has exposed me to similarly-motivated people. On one Slack discussion thread, someone mentioned that DigitalCrafts was advertised on a podcast, so I started listening to that, which led me to other podcasts and, ultimately, Twitter. There is a lot of great information from helpful people of all levels of experience.
LinkedIn, which I avoided when I was a business owner but I cling to now, is a great source of news catered to one’s professional interests.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
I enjoy the process behind trying to figure out a problem and where a program has failed. I enjoy syntax, which is helpful when writing code. When I would write papers in graduate school, editing them for publication was one of the more enjoyable parts of the process.
What’s next on your list to learn?
I am interested in learning React Native for mobile applications, largely because my class’s developer-in-residence learned it and that guy is wicked smart! Also, of course, the ability to develop applications for mobile technology is a useful skill to have and will only become more and more important.
Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
My photography business comprised between 2 and 4 employees, so I am experienced with small company excitement and struggles. However, I am open to working for any size company, as long as the work matters. The ways in which an engineer/developer can improve people’s lives are excitingly overwhelming.