Mitchell Nick is a full stack feelanceweb developer who likes to “Build awesome stuff on the web in Ruby on Rails.”
When and how did you originally become interested in technology?
I remember plopping in a floppy disk and having green text flash across the screen. I’ve been hooked since. Jeez, I feel old saying that.
At what age did you write your first computer program? What did it do?
This is embarrassing, but my first real computer program (not just small snippets of code) was written in VBA during an internship. I helped a call center that had high levels of seasonal calls determine how many people to staff and what hours they should
work to have less than a 2 minute hold time at 90% confidence level.
It worked like a charm.
What do you do now? What languages are you proficient in?
I do freelance Ruby development for startups and small companies. The full stack is my playground, I’m frequently the guy doing the CSS and jQuery as well as the back end on a project. You can check out my projects and a few testimonials from clients at mnwebdev.com.
How have you increased your skillset over the years, formally or otherwise?
I really enjoy the courses over at codeschool.com. I’m constantly on the look out for better sources of information or a new blog to follow to learn about all aspects of life. I’m pretty fascinated with current research on how the brain works and how we can use this to maximize our everyday life.
Which do you prefer in programming, the struggle or the achievement?
Definitely the achievement. I’ll skip the struggle to get to the achievement, I’m not a complete perfectionist like some programmers are.
What people, groups, projects, or resources were most influential in your development as programmer?
There’s some awesome people out there who have helped out. Jake Good immediately comes to mind, he served as a programming mentor for me when I got going to make sure I wasn’t developing
any too many bad practices with my programming.
I wrote a post about how I got started over here: How I Quit My Job and Become a Solid Programmer in Only 8 Months, it’s a pretty solid read for anyone thinking of taking the plunge.
What do you enjoy about it? Is there anything you dislike?
There’s a lot to really like about it: the freedom, knowing you are adding high value to the world, the number of opportunities which are open to you, the constant challenge, the people you meet, and the ability to drop it all at any time and chase the startup dream. Days staring at the VPS command line can get to me, but they are getting pretty few and far in between.
If you were to be doing anything else, what might that be?
Traveling the world, surfing and teaching English? That was the backup plan if programming didn’t work out. Seeing the backup plan was better than my previous full time gig, it made it much easier to quit. Eventually I will switch to building and growing a SaaS based startup.
Where do you spend most of your time online?
Packers.com :) We were so close this year. I’m also a huge RSS guy, I spent a considerable amount of time optimizing my feed with some incredible reads and haven’t taken the time to switch away from it.
What concerns you most about where technology is headed?
I don’t have kids yet, but making sure my kid can interact face to face. We get really buried in our toys, we haven’t built up self defense systems against the addictiveness in our technology.
What excites you most about where technology is headed?
I’m extremely excited for the technology around reading our brain waves and having them manipulate a piece of technology. If you haven’t read anything on it yet, take the time to read a few articles. I took a design for human disabilities course in engineering school, the degree this technology will increase the quality of living for people who are quadriplegic is astounding.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think there is something I can help you with. I love talking startups and technology. I also enjoy helping get other people into programming, so don’t be shy reaching out.