After working in busy, loud newsrooms, UGA grad Jack Maddox felt a desire to bring things to life with his own code. He eventually made his way to breaking news startup Dataminr.
To build up his programming background, Maddox left his post at the startup to join DigitalCrafts‘ Immersive Full Stack Web Development Course. Following graduation, he’s looking for a new startup to help scale, this time with his programming skills.
“It’s hard to beat the excitement of being able to directly impact the output of a business and growing with it,” Maddox says.
Get to know this former newsie below and scoop him up fast. Tech talent doesn’t last long in this market!
Why the interest in the technology field?
Technology is the greatest way to make better things. The level of immediate gratification that comes from writing or fixing a line of code and seeing something cool happen on a screen is just hard to top. You get to make something out of nothing and see your ideas come to life in front of you.
What startup or tech projects have you worked on?
I first got the startup bug about 10 years ago after I tried to find a local web community and couldn’t. This was back in the hayday of web forums, when VBulletin was the most popular, but it cost money. I put together a MyBB forum and customized the skin via CSS files to look and feel as much like a regular VBulletin forum as possible. After only a month or so, I had enough users who volunteered a fundraiser to move the page over to VBulletin and do it right. The page still exists today at MX5Atlanta.com (albiet not as busy as it once was), but I loved this whole process.
In the midst of the whole “I’ve got an app for that” explosion of the early-mid 2010’s, I wanted to try my hand at it. I put aside some cash and quit my job to set up Teamup/Joinup, a real-time geolocated social matchmaking app to find pick-up sports games. I didn’t have the technical abilities to match my ambition, but we managed to get it on the App store. Then it was time for me to get back into the traditional workforce by joining a big successful startup called Dataminr.
What tools are essential to you as a developer?
I’m really into the color scheme I have going on in VS Code at the moment. Being able to see things clearly laid out puts my mind at ease and lets me get on with my work. Noise-cancelling headphones also help with my focus, which I find amusing having come from a world of noisy newsrooms.
How do you stay informed and on-top of emerging trends?
I’ve turned into a bit of a podcast junkie to become familiar with new-to-me technical lingo. Syntax and Indie Hackers are my favorites at the moment. For reading, I’ve found myself losing many hours on DEV.to recently.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
I’m resourceful at solving problems. I’ve been on the outskirts of development for so long that I’ve always tried to backwards program my way through things.
Now that I have the knowledge to write code, I cannot get enough of whipping together new projects or applications. I focus on how tasks can be broken down to their simplest components for people to have more enjoyable experiences in their daily life.
What’s next on your list to learn?
React Native at the moment, followed by going over everything I’ve just learned again and then branching out into Java as it is such a stalwart in the industry.
Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
Startup and mid-sized ideally. It’s hard to beat the excitement of being able to directly impact the output of a business and growing with it. I was fortunate to be part of an office that grew significantly at Dataminr and it’s a great feeling seeing how new hires and office decisions that you’re responsible for play out with the success of the company.