Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring Develop Camp Cohort 1 participants and their mentors.
Jim is an Independent Consultant living in Pittsburgh, PA.
How did you become a developer?
I'm entirely self-taught, starting with building HTML pages in college (I studied psychology). Out of school I became a project manager, but when some of my developers left for new jobs and I was facing deadlines, I couldn't think of any other way to get the project done than to try and pitch in with development. After that trial by fire, I started trying to build my own side projects, and it sort of snowballed from there.
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced as a developer?
The biggest challenge I've faced is trying to stay current. Technology moves so quickly and there are so many languages, frameworks, and specializations.
What advice do you have for moms or dads who are pursuing a career in web development?
First off, you can do this! I found that starting with a relatively narrow focus, such as just the visual aspects (HTML & CSS) or just the data layer, can help you find a position where you can feel like you're contributing quickly. No matter how challenging it gets, understand that even the most experienced programmers struggle frequently. It's totally normal to need to google for even basic concepts over and over again. Don't give up - the rewards from working in this industry are definitely worth it!
What has been your greatest professional accomplishment?
My greatest professional accomplishment was creating a combined team of developers, designers, quality assurance professionals, and product managers that built a great product and truly enjoyed working together. Helping the team grow as individuals and as a group was as rewarding as the code we wrote.
I chose to volunteer as a Develop Camp mentor because:
It's really important to me personally and professionally to make the opportunities in this industry available to as broad and as diverse an audience as possible.
I am most looking forward to the future because:
There are so many programs now that are aimed at helping underrepresented groups break in to technology and web development. I can't wait to see what the industry looks like in 5, 10, and 20 years.
Connect with Jim on on Twitter and LinkedIn