Jared Sieling is a freelance software developer in Minnesota.
What initially sparked your interest in technology?
When I was real little my dad brought home an Apple II computer, with the big floppy disks, and I’d spend hours going through all the disks, starting them up, and seeing what their programs did. Mesmerized me. Of course, the games took up most my time, with Lode Runner being the best and Oregon Trail a close second. (Let the debate begin!)
What was the first programming language you learned?
Visual Basic. In 7th grade, I learned it to build a study tool for my geography class.
What do you do now?
Full-stack development + mobile. Recently it’s been mostly Java on the backend, Angular on the frontend, and Ionic/Cordova for mobile apps.
How did you develop the skillsets to get to where you are today?
I learned programming on my own, shortly after school. I had done an undergraduate in Physics and a masters in Electrical Engineering, but unfortunately hadn’t gotten any exposure to programming through coursework. Then, I got a job at a small company where they soon needed some software development, and I was able to take that opportunity to teach myself Java on the job.
What tools do you use on a daily basis?
Docker (huge fan!), Atom and IntelliJ IDEA, Node (NPM, Bower and Grunt), and Gradle.
What is your favorite part of your job?
What I love most is that it’s non-stop problem solving at multiple levels. At the highest level you’re able to take a client’s problem and work with them to design a solution. Which is fantastic. But, at a component level you’re trying to make things as robust and reusable as you can, and at an even smaller level, each block of code you write, you’re trying to come up with the most effective and efficient way of doing it. By it’s nature, it allows you to have small, yet tangible wins each day, building to larger wins over time.
What is your biggest programming pet peeve?
For me, it’s when your project spends time developing a big feature, and then later decide it isn’t needed and to scrap it. Agile methodologies help alleviate a lot of that, but inevitably, it still happens from time to time.
Any advice for people considering a career in programming?
Do it! You really can’t go wrong. Good wages, high job satisfaction, and high demand across every industry.
Where do you think technology will be as it relates to you in five years?
The two trends that I think will impact me the most are 1) the rise of Internet-of-Things and 2) the demand for first-class user experiences. With IoT, systems and data will continue to become more complex. At the same time, consumers are becoming more likely to choose a product or business based on their user experience. Designing solutions that are able to balance these two is going to be challenging and fun.
What was the coolest, but most useless bit of programming you’ve seen lately?
I’d have to say the Elevator Saga game (play.elevatorsaga.com), where you try to program an elevator to transport people between floors as quickly as possible. I lost way too many hours of my life to this…
What are some things you’re into outside of tech?
I’m a new dad, so spending time with my daughter and wife is number one, right now. I love playing sports of any kind, so try to fit that in where I can. I also really enjoy the local startup scene, and the increasing number of events around it. It’s fun to see that community grow, and be a part of some new things.