Both an artist and a technologist, John Brown enjoys the process of creating something from nothing — whether it’s using his carpenter skills to create a piece of furniture or transforming code into a useful app. That perspective set him up for success in Thinkful’s Flexible Web Development Bootcamp. His latest project is a way for realtors to stay on top of their client needs in real-time by helping them share new listings, open houses, and more through an app, versus relying on email listserves. Brown thrives on asking questions to understand the problem and come up with solutions.
Share his passion and curiosity? Brown is open to working at any company as long as it has a supportive and passionate team. Here’s more on how this junior developer is putting his artistic talents to work when designing user interface and thinking up new ways of approaching code.
What is your previous education?
I am a graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts which supplied me with 6 years of artistic training and experience. After that, I went on to attend 3 years at Birmingham Southern College with a focus on Fine Arts.
What startup/tech projects have you worked on?
The latest project that I created was an app for REALTORS® to be able to better communicate. In it, the realtors can share with their clients available properties, open houses they might be hosting, the best handymen around, etc. The crazy thing is that REALTORS® still typically communicate via email through their associations listserv. I think my application would be a much welcomed change in the community and help lighten everyone’s inbox.
What tech/tools are essential to you as a developer?
I’ll start where all developers start, the text editor. I use Atom because I love the modularity and community aspect of its tools. From there, I use ITerm as my terminal and I would be 100 percent lost without Chrome’s immense set of dev tools.
How do you stay informed & on-top of emerging trends?
For tech trends, I really enjoy visiting Hacker Noon, Scotch.io, and YouTube for great tutorials and information on the latest and greatest. However, I think my most valuable resource is LinkedIn. When you connect with so many great developers who also want to stay current, you find really great articles through them that otherwise you may never see.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
I think my greatest technical skill is my ability to ask the simple question, “Why?” So many developers get taught best practices or methods. Most people never ask “Why are we doing it this way?” I’ve found that every time I’ve asked that question, I gain a much deeper understanding behind the language, framework, or library I’m using.
As far as creative skills, my many years of art experience help guide me in all my design decisions. This has been beneficial in not only creating my UI’s, but also in my ability to come up with creative solutions to problems.
What’s next on your list to learn?
Right now I’m building an app using React.js and Redux. After that, I want to learn React Native so I can go on to develop for Android and iOS. I also love IoT technology and I hope to pursue that somewhere on my journey as well.
Why the interest in the technology field?
I’ve always loved creating things. It’s why I had such an interest in art. I’ve made many physical things as an artist and a carpenter. It’s very rewarding for me to be able to create something from nothing. The same principle holds true for me in technology.
We start with a blank screen in our editor. We use our thoughts and creativity to develop tools for ourselves and others. But the best part is that unlike an art piece or a piece of furniture, this creation is available for everyone (with internet) to use instantly.
Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
I think it would be wrong of me to discriminate against any company based on their size. I’m interested in working for great people who also share my passion and where I feel I can make a difference.