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?
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?
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.