Jacob Askew has always held a strong work ethic — from his job as a chef at a local restaurant to putting on a designer hat at a small startup. However, it took a while for his career journey to click, which is how he found himself back in his first passion: software development. He enrolled in Thinkful‘s Full Time Web Development Immersive Program to kickstart his new career.
“Thinkful helped bridge the gap in my knowledge and connect the dots to understanding full-stack development,” says Askew. “In 16 weeks, I was building entire applications by myself, but more importantly, I knew what was going on in those applications and how it all worked together.”
During his time in the bootcamp he built three projects, including one that uses an API from NASA to allow users to look up any photo of space. This curious junior programmer is now looking to apply his new concepts at any company that invests back into their team.
Check out Askew’s credentials beyond bootcamp and why he has a tendency to fall down the rabbit hole doing research on Medium.
What is your previous education?
I have no formal college experience, but I have a ton of life experience and education from working in a multitude of different industries. These range from being a chef at one of the top restaurants in Atlanta to working in a startup of 6 people doing web design. Through all these jobs, even though I performed well, I never felt like it was something I wanted to do for a career — that’s where Software Development comes in. I know I wanted to work in development from the first ‘Hello World’ I wrote, I just didn’t know where or how to begin.
Why the interest in the technology field?
Ever since I can remember I have always been a tinkerer and just really curious about how things work. Growing up in the early 90’s with the tech boom happening, technology has always been around me in some shape or form, mainly via computer video games.
What tech projects have you worked on?
During my time with Thinkful, I have developed 3 capstone projects, the first of which is a simple web app using AJAX to make a call to NASA’s API to show their beautiful pictures from or about space, by letting a user select any date in the past.
My second project was inspired by wanting to help developers be more efficient when working on issues on Github. PomoGitto uses Github’s OAuth to let users log in using an existing account and be able to see which open issues are assigned to them. From that list they are able to start a clock to countdown, and let them know when they should stop working. This application is using the Pomodoro Technique to help devs work at peak efficiency.
The third major project I made was ThinkGames, which is a real-time chat app. This project was my favorite to work on because I made it from the ground up, I didn’t use any templates or starter code. By using Socket.io, I created an interface to let users sign up with their username and start talking to other gamers about anything they like!
What tech tools are essential to you as a developer?
For me, my code editor (or IDE) is the tool I use the most and the one I love to personalize. I use Visual Studio Code for any programming I do, and even note taking sometimes since it is always open. Other than my IDE, I also heavily rely on the terminal to run scripts and for debugging.
How do you stay informed and on-top of emerging trends?
I am huge fan of Medium and all the great resources there. I tend to fall into what I call a ‘research hole.’ I read one article and then click on another that is similar, and just keep going. Once I have exhausted Medium, I usually go to HackerNoon.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
I have a knack for asking ‘why’ a lot, so from that I think my best technical skill is being able to think through problems in a programmatic way.
What’s next on your list to learn?
I have recently started to work on React Native, and would love to learn more about each mobile’s OS native language, for example, Swift and Kotlin (Java).
Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
The size of the company is not as important to me as the culture they try to make for their employees. Of course cold brew coffee and foosball tables are great, but culture, to me, is more about how everyone gets along and is on the same team. Also how the company invests back into their employees. For a big company, I want to feel like I have an impact still, and for smaller start-up, I want to feel like I can grow but still have someone who I can go to for questions I might have.