Know This Nerd? Meet Cam Schnackel



Cam Schnackel is freelance software engineer in Minnesota.


What initially sparked your interest in technology?

I’ve been interested in technology ever since I was in the 3rd grade. My older sister at the time was dabbling in some HTML/CSS and taught me some of the basics. I coded a number of super basic fan sites for various goofy things that I enjoyed at the time (primarily Yu-Gi-Oh!). It wasn’t until recently that I decided to make a career out of coding, but I’ve been keeping myself informed with new technologies and products for years now.

What was the first programming language you learned?

Aside from what I was doing as a kid, I first learned JavaScript during my time at Prime Digital Academy this past year.

What do you do now?

Currently I work part-time at a startup called Ucahoot. I am seeking full-time employment as well to further develop my skills as a software engineer.

How did you develop the skillsets to get to where you are today?

Most of what I learned came from the excellent instruction at Prime Digital Academy. The rest has been self-taught through various online learning modules and YouTube tutorials.

What tools do you use on a daily basis?

Visual Studio Code along with CMDer as my CLI. Currently getting the hang of coding on a Windows machine which has been tricky coming from a MacBook. I primarily do web development and also use node.js, npm, along with Git and GitHub.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part is having the opportunity to learn and grow in this new career of mine. Currently learning how to use Vue.js and VueX for the first time which is exciting. I am lucky to be working with a team of developers who are both incredibly supportive and entertaining.

What is your biggest programming pet peeve?

I hate it when people use the wrong quotations (single vs double). It generally doesn’t impact what I am working on, but it makes the code look inconsistent and non-cohesive. I’m also a spaces guy so tabs can feel like a bit of an eyesore at times.

Any advice for people considering a career in programming?

If you’re new to it, you are almost certainly going to feel some major “imposter syndrome,” which will have you second guessing if you belong in this field. This is a struggle all new developers experience and was personally the biggest hurdle I had to overcome early on. I still struggle with it today at times. Just don’t give up! No matter how difficult a code-related problem or error may seem, the payoff is going to be huge once you figure it out. Every “aha!” moment that you have is going to make you feel awesome and is an excellent way to silence that imposter syndrome.

Where do you think technology will be as it relates to you in five years?

It’s hard to say for sure what things will be like in 5 years, but personally I hope that passwords are a thing of the past by then. Major tech companies are already working out new methods of replacing passwords with various biometrics and USB keys. I’m also excited to see how far we come in the area of machine learning and AI.

What was the coolest, but most useless bit of programming you’ve seen lately?

I recently came across a project someone had done in which they created a whole new programming language using iambic pentameter (known as SPL or Shakespeare Programming Language). All of the code was written Shakespeare style. Hugely impressive for sure, but definitely impractical.

What are some things you’re into outside of tech?

I am a big music lover and attend dozens of concerts yearly. I also enjoy hanging with my weirdo cat Luna, playing video games, and laughing at all of the nonsense I find on Tumblr. I’m also a big TV watcher and love me some Game of Thrones and Westworld.