After spending the last two years selling antiques, Nat Sharpe wanted to find a solution to automate some of his business’s repetitive tasks. Thanks to encouragement from his wife, he found himself lured in by technology.
Now as a new grad of DigitalCrafts‘ Full Stack Immersive program, Sharpe has begun integrating into Atlanta’s tech scene.
“I have spent the past four months in a whirlwind of Python algorithms, Git commands and code reviews. The program has allowed me to practice both technical and interpersonal skills,” says Sharpe. “One major perk has been our location at the Atlanta Tech Village. I have spent many after-class hours talking with the entrepreneurs and developers who share the building.”
And yes, he ended up building the tool he was looking for — a Python web scraper and database that will help find hidden treasures on eBay.
Sharpe is now ready to join a dynamic company, no matter the size, that thrives on collaboration and aims to celebrate successes together. Don’t miss out on this skilled and enthusiastic junior programmer.
What is your previous education?
I homeschooled through high school except for one year at a private school in Ontario. After graduation, I attended what is now the Compass College of Cinematic Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In areas like business management, research and graphic design I am primarily self-educated.
Why the interest in the technology field?
For the last two years I have owned and operated a small business selling antiques. While it was a big pivot to switch from 100-year-old artifacts to cutting-edge software, my own business needs helped me see how useful programming could be. I learned firsthand the value which comes from automating repetitive tasks and creating scalable and accessible products. The idea of helping a company write applications that could impact the lives of millions of people was inspiring and energizing.
My wife Martha, who comes from a family of software engineers, was a major source of encouragement. She observed that I already thought like a programmer and would do well once I learned the syntax. Based on my experience at DigitalCrafts, she was spot on!
What tech projects have you worked on?
My first-ever pull request was for an open source project sponsored by the Code for America Brigade (and yes, it was approved!). At DigitalCrafts I participated in both group and solo projects, including simple computer games, a Viking social media site and a React/Redux web app for BurgerX, a fictional restaurant founded by Elon Musk. In my spare time, I am building a Python web scraper and database that will help find hidden treasures on eBay.
An upcoming project is the Atlanta 48in48 event where I will work as a project manager alongside hundreds of other volunteers. We will be spending a hectic but fun weekend building websites for local non-profits.
What tech or tools are essential to you as a developer?
In terms of basics, Visual Studio Code is my go-to text editor. I love that I can integrate the terminal and do all my navigating and Git and GitHub commands using the same UI. I also rely heavily on Google Chrome and its React and Redux extensions. More generally, I am a fan of Test Driven Development and the practice of making commits and pull requests early and often.
How do you stay informed and on-top of emerging trends?
People! I enjoy going to meetups and chatting with the software engineers who are working in the fields I am curious about. When it comes to innovative technology, sometimes it is hard to separate the reality from the hype. I find that if I ask enough people enough questions I end up aggregating a pretty clear picture of where things are headed. Medium is another great source for well-curated tech content.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
Visual media, storytelling and puzzle-solving are all lifelong passions. If I wasn’t drawing, editing videos or Photoshopping, I was likely solving some mystery through intensive internet research. With programming I have found a way to unite these diverse skills and interests. It is a wonderful feeling when I am able to finish a web app which is easy for the user to operate, has terse, efficient logic and looks good to boot.
What’s next on your list to learn?
I have fallen in love with React.js so next on the docket is React Native. It is not part of the DigitalCrafts curriculum but I plan on diving into it and building my first mobile app. There has been an upsurge in React Native’s popularity and it will be interesting to seeing how it develops going forward. Another area I am experimenting with is augmented reality.
Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
I think I would prove the most useful in an environment which fostered collaboration and short-term tasks with concrete goals. I have always enjoyed being part of a team and sharing in the group’s successes (and hopefully far-fewer) failures. So size is not as critical to me as is the work dynamic and overall philosophy of the company.