With a background in industrial engineering, Georgia Tech grad Evan McCoy has been interested in tech his whole life. He built his first computer as a child and followed that path to IT support and most recently, product management.
The natural next step for him, he says, was to join DigitalCrafts‘ Full-Stack Immersive program to hone his knowledge into a new coding career. His out-of-the-box thinking can be seen in his bootcamp projects — from an app that lets users pick their fantasy sports athlete based on their horoscope to a project database to inspire future DigitalCrafts’ students.
Interested? Get to know this former product manager below.
Why the interest in the technology field?
I built my first computer at the age of six, so needless to say I’ve been a huge nerd my entire life. Technology has always been a big part of my life, from video games to early employment as an IT help desk assistant while in college. It’s always come naturally to me, even though I never really jumped into the deep end with coding until I joined DigitalCrafts.
What projects have you worked on?
The first is called Astrologic. It was inspired by fantasy sports and how we could use more esoteric data to get an edge over the competition when building lineups. We found an astrology database and built Astrologic to allow sports fans to find the daily horoscope of any athlete. If the stars say that it will be a great day, then who are we to say they’re incorrect? Astrologic is built using vanilla HTML and CSS.
The second was born from a lack of inspiration while building projects during our bootcamp. My teammates and I would struggle with what folks from previous classes had built and what is possible in a week’s time. We built the DigitalCrafts Project Database to allow students to upload their projects, and then allow future students to filter that list by tags. DCPD is built using HTML, CSS, and ES6 Renderer for the frontend, and Node, Express and PostgreSQL for the backend.
Lastly, my capstone project, Heatseeker, is born from one of my biggest passions — sneakers. When rare shoes are released, local sneaker stores only are given a few hundred pairs. Heatseeker will send sneakerheads notifications whenever a new raffle is scheduled in their city, so they have the best chance to get the hottest shoes around. Heatseeker is a React Native app using Node, Express, and PostgreSQL on the backend.
What tech or tools are essential to you as a developer?
I’m somewhat in the minority in my class, but I’ve been using Firefox Developer Edition as my primary browser for developing. Not only does it calm my paranoia around data privacy, but it has some really great features that help me build debug software. The dev tools have features that allow me to dissect layouts built using CSS Grid so that I can better format layouts. If you’re getting tired of Chrome, check it out!
How do you stay informed and on-top of emerging trends?
I have a few websites that I check every morning to keep up-to-date on all things tech. Product Hunt is where I check out the newest product releases and it’s a great source of inspiration. I also check Hacker News, then Indie Hackers, a community of folks who have bootstrapped successful businesses either as side projects or full-time gigs. It’s full of stories about how anyone can build their own business and make it.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
Prior to joining DigitalCrafts, I was a product manager for about four years. Creatively it really gave me an eye for problems in the world that I care about and could potentially solve. Because of that I am never out of ideas for new projects or products — the challenge now is to decide which ones to work on!
Besides that, years of math and engineering classes have given me the ability to pick up on complex concepts quickly. Coding is hard, but the four years of butt-kicking doled out by Georgia Tech definitely prepared me for life as a developer.
What’s next on your list to learn?
I’m going to cheat a little here because I am currently learning it, but React Native. This day and age, you have to go mobile to reach consumers, and the market will only continue to grow as people ditch computers for tablets and phones. The learning curve isn’t quite as steep as with a native mobile language like Swift or Kotlin, but there are still plenty of intricacies and new paradigms to learn while developing for mobile.
Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
When thinking about job opportunities, regardless of the size of the company, I want a role where I have impact and agency to solve our clients’ problems. These days it looks like a lot of larger companies are instilling the startup mentality, so I am certainly not excluding those tech giants from any job searches.