Keith Moore is the “Developer in Residence” for Digital Crafts, a coding academy that offers a 16-week intensive web development bootcamp. His interest in code sparked while working on his master’s thesis in Geology at the University of Louisiana, where he found himself restricted by the computer lab’s less than savory statistical software. Not wanting to dive deep into a computer science degree, he choose Digital Crafts as a way to amp up his skills and head straight into the job market.
Lucky for Atlanta employers, he’s currently looking for a mid-sized company with a team of experienced mentors and developers. Moore just can’t learn enough. Scoop him up to secure a web dev with some serious skills.
As a recent graduate from DigitalCrafts, can you share your biggest takeaway? What drew you to the program, or to coding bootcamps in general?
The deepest thing I learned from my experience is that any smart and motivated person can learn to code when provided with the right resources. I was amazed at the people who enrolled with zero programming skills and graduated 16 weeks later with the ability to build fully-functional, modern web applications.
When I enrolled at DigitalCrafts, I already had some experience with programming and had decided that I wanted a career where I could work mostly with computers. I first heard of DigitalCrafts through Meetup, but I was not able to attend any of their events while working out of state. Coding bootcamps appealed to me as an alternative to a traditional CS degree because I was not willing to stay off the job market for several years. I also considered learning web development on my own, but I knew that I would learn more quickly in a structured environment.
Can you tell us exactly what the role of a ‘Developer-in-Residence’ entails?
As a Developer-in-Residence, I sit in on classroom exercises and help students with debugging, setting up web servers, git repository management, and other tasks. When I’m not busy helping out around the classroom, the DigitalCrafts team provides Developer Challenges for me to work on. My current challenge is to continue developing part of the curriculum known as the Hacker Track. I’ve also given a couple of technical talks.
What is your previous education?
I have a B.S. in Environmental Science and a M.S. in Geology. While completing my master’s thesis, I found that I needed to do statistical analysis on the soil and water quality data I had collected. Rather than tie myself down to using the computer lab’s arcane statistical software, I chose to learn R programming and use free software on my own laptop. I enjoyed the experience immensely, and it became a motivation for choosing a second career in software.
What was your work experience before aspiring to become a web developer?
Before enrolling at DigitalCrafts, I worked in the Construction Materials Testing department of an Atlanta-based civil engineering firm. I was mostly a field guy and worked at various sites across the southeast, where I was responsible for monitoring the installation of deep foundations. Before that, I paid my way through grad school as a Teaching Assistant. As an undergraduate, I spent a few summers volunteering on organic farms through WWOOF.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
My goal while writing code is strike a balance between elegance and readability. If your code is too terse and clever, no one can read it. At the other extreme, you end up turning what should have been 10 lines into 50 lines. Just as a web application is a product meant to be consumed by a particular audience, I think of my code as a product meant to be read by other developers. I’m also adding scalability to my list of criteria by making my code more modular.
What technology and tools are essential to you as a developer?
I mostly develop on Mac OS X, but there are days when I think I should switch to a lightweight Linux distro such as Lubuntu to get the most out of my older hardware. My personal portfolio is served from an AWS EC2 instance running Ubuntu. For a text editor, I mostly use Sublime, but I’ve also been using Atom while learning React. And I use Emacs for OS X while learning Clojure.How do you stay informed & on top of emerging trends?
I’m a frequent lurker on the tech404, DigitalCrafts, and Clojurians Slack teams. I also attend as many tech meetups as my gym schedule permits.
After DigitalCrafts, what’s next on your list to learn?
Since beginning this position as DigitalCrafts, I’ve gotten hooked on writing unit tests in Jasmine. I’d like to get more experience with software QA by writing tests for my AngularJS apps. I’m also interested in functional programming; I spend a couple hours each weekend learning Clojure. For the most part, I’d like to focus on developing my ability to build fast, elegant, responsive, scalable, user-friendly software.
Are you interested in working for a startup, agency, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
DigitalCrafts has been my first experience working for a startup, and so far I’ve really enjoyed it. In my last job, I worked for a company of 100-200 employees, and I thought that size also seemed to work well. For my next position as a developer, my future employer and I would probably benefit most if I worked with a team of several experienced developers. I think that any company able to provide that mentorship could be a good fit.