Home People This Programmer Turned His Hardware Side Hobby Into A Blossoming New Tech Career

This Programmer Turned His Hardware Side Hobby Into A Blossoming New Tech Career

by Muriel Vega

Jonathan Ray has always gravitated toward the outdoors. Drawing from his fascination with all things horticulture, he originally pursued a career as a botanist, but also maintained technology-focused side projects using hardware and basic software.

As he was looking for a new career challenge, he saw an opportunity to go all-in on his side hustle. Ray joined DigitalCrafts’ Full Stack Immersive Bootcamp to build on his growing technology knowledge.

He has now worked on multiple projects including a national brewery finder, a music-focused social media platform and what he says has been his favorite project, There’s Waldo.

Learn more about Ray and why his curiosity and problem-solving skills may be a good fit for your developer team.

What is your previous education?

Growing up in Florida, I gravitated towards plants and made my first career in horticulture. I studied Botany at the University of Florida where my interest in the field truly blossomed.

Why the interest in the technology field?

Technology has always played a crucial role in bringing my ideas for projects to fruition. Looking for new challenges and career opportunities, I naturally gravitated towards the familiar field to further my understanding (and fall hopelessly in love with) tech.

What startup/tech projects have you worked on?

I have had the opportunity to work on a number of exciting projects while at DigitalCrafts. One such project was RoughDraft, a national brewery finder built with 4 APIs and HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Another project I worked on was a social platform for meeting folks based on musical preferences, complete with messaging function and integration with Spotify. One of the most exciting challenges I learned from, however, is in developing my There’s Waldo project.

Integrating hardware and blending it with web development has been a humbling but exhilarating experience from which I will never stop learning. Creating a dynamic user experience built with React, a SQL database, Arduino, and several sensors has been an adventure I won’t soon forget.

What tools are essential to you as a developer?

The most essential tool for my development has been humble yellow rubber ducky. A crucial tool for debugging some of the most nefarious problem bits of code, I have found this little toy to be an indispensable helper in my code.

VisualStudio Code extensions such as Bracket Pair Colorizer and indent-rainbow make it a snap to check the formatting and legibility of any code I write. Finally, Github has been essential in collaborating with other developers, controlling versions, and generally building better code. I owe a lot of my success as a developer to Github.

How do you stay on-top of emerging trends?

Platforms such as Medium and Hackster keep me fluent in the latest ideas and projects. Additionally, I love attending Meetups in the area on JavaScript, such as the Atlanta JS Meetup, to learn from others in my immediate tech community.

What are your best technical or creative skills?

Having a long history of building fun projects (like a sweater inspired by Stranger Things that lights up and spells out messages), my strengths lie in working with hardware and building experiences that quickly engage others. I’m as comfortable with a soldering iron as I am with a text editor.

What’s next on your list to learn?

I’m eager to port some of my more mobile-friendly projects built in React to React Native to create a more engaging experience. I think There’s Waldo, my project built with React to dynamically point the user to an object hidden anywhere in the world, is a good place to start my journey with Native.

I’m also excited to discover the rich world of Angular. TypeScript appeals to me and the large ecosystem that supports Angular is a logical next step for this developer.

Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?

The size of the company I work for next is not as important to me as the team I work with. I’m excited for any opportunity to work alongside more experienced developers to grow and improve my approaches to problem-solving.

Interested in looking at Jonathan’s credentials? Here you go! GitHubPortfolio, and LinkedIn.

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