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Tech Talent: Former Journalist Has the Scoop on His Next Coding Challenge

by Muriel Vega

After diving deep into a technology project within the corporate world at Cox Communications, Robby Ackerley‘s interest in technology was piqued. To beef up his coding skills, this UGA grad decided to join DigitalCrafts Full-Stack Immersive Bootcamp.

During his bootcamp, Ackerley has tested his skills by developing an app that recommends beers based on your book preferences. Now, he hopes to continue learning — both through his morning reading breaks on Medium and working on tech projects at a company that invests back in its employees. Find out more about this journalist-turned-junior programmer’s sharp skills and why he would be a good addition to your company.

What is your previous education?

I graduated from the University of Georgia with B.A. in Journalism

Why the interest in the technology field?

I thrive on education, and the technology field is a lifelong learning practice. Besides its scope, I love its welcoming and diverse community. Technology brings together people from all over the world and provides outlets for problem solving.

What startup/tech projects have you worked on?

Prior to enrolling in DigitalCrafts, I led an agile team with Cox Communications. Our team was responsible for building components and features for the CMS so that our partners in marketing and sales could build more personalized experiences for their customers. This project presented many unique technical challenges on how to build a platform that would enable non-technical users to create data-driven experiences. It also became the catalyst for piquing my interest to dive into the programming world.

On the personal side, I have been working on an app called brewpub that recommends beers for books. It’s been a great outlet to experiment with new technologies and frameworks outside of the classroom. A recommendation engine provides a lot of opportunities to dig into some really exciting technologies.

What tools are essential to you as a developer?

From a hardware perspective, my MacBook Pro is essential to my productivity. As far as software goes, I’m a big fan of Atom as an editor. But at the end of the day, the most important tool for me has been the individual docs for whichever technology that I am working with. I heard someone once say that a framework is only as good as its documentation and I have found that to be an essential truth.

How do you stay informed and on-top of emerging trends?

I love to read in the mornings, so Medium has become a default. I like to use it for a cloud-level view of the industry, but more importantly than reading, I believe building a strong developer community outside of the workplace can be a great way to stay on top of this ever-changing industry.

What are your best technical or creative skills?

React has emerged as a fantastic skill. The component mindset quickly clicked and the architectural patterns felt very natural to me coming from my experience in Adobe AEM. On the creative side, my knowledge of design thinking strategies and processes has been a tremendous asset.

I am fortunate enough to have worked with an incredible UX team in the past and learning the design thinking process has given me a clear and practical approach to problem solving.

What’s next on your list to learn?

I am extremely interested in Swift. I have always had an appreciation for Apple products and Swift is no different. With Swift becoming open source a few years back, I believe that it has a really exciting future and am looking forward to adding it to my arsenal.

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

The size of the company is not as much a driving force for me as the team that I would work with on a daily basis. Regardless of size, I am looking to work in a company that invests in its employees.

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

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