Meet the Team: Jasper Boyd
Jasper Boyd takes the term "Rock Star Developer" to a whole new level. Read more about the metronome that makes Jasper tick.
Q. How long have you been a developer for?
This would be my fourth year.
Q. How did you get started?
I was late to the game signing up for my freshman year classes and my advisor, to fulfill the science perspective, said: “take intro to computer science”. I had been interested in coding, did some CSS stuff; played around with MySpace themes; a musical coding language called MAX MSP. So took the class, and even though I didn’t like the class mainly because of the teacher, but I loved coding and knew that that’s what I wanted to get out of college.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
That I’m coding all day. (laughs) That and the fact that there is a really good challenging aspect, I’m getting better because I get instant feedback on everything I do.
Q. Biggest/hardest project you have ever worked on?
Gift Cards is up there. Building in Gift Cards in Slatwall is hugely challenging for me especially because I was learning Slatwall as I did it. From that perspective, that was probably the hardest project I’ve worked on.
Q. What project you are most proud of?
I feel like every next project I’m proud of, but in college, I wrote this program that took weather data and converted it to music like a very sophisticated wind chime. It was very hard, the technology I used didn’t explain how to use it, so there was a lot of trial and error until I got it to work. Everyone who listened to it said it was beautiful sounding, so that’s why I was so proud. It didn’t sound like some weird science experiment, it was beautiful music.
Q. How do you keep up with industry developments?
There is a site called Smashing magazine: web-design specific posts and user experience (trends and design trends). I think it’s really interesting.
Q. What is the most challenging part about being a developer?
When things only work some of the time. That’s the hardest thing to fix; when it works in one place and then it won’t work other times. I enjoy it though...it’s like a puzzle.
Q. How do you think the field will change within the next decade?
The thing that I have seen is that there are a lot of places that are selling sites that will build sites for you without actually writing code, so I think the direction it’s going to go is getting farther and farther away from specifically coding different features and systems that will do that for you.
Q. Advice for future developers?
The only advice that can be given is to not stop. If it’s something you like doing, keep doing it and keep learning. That’s one of the great things about programming is that there is an infinite amount of things to learn because people are constantly making new systems.
Q. If you had to code in 1 language for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Q. How do you spend your free time?
Making music, number one. A lot of time I’ll go home and start making music until I realize I should probably make dinner. I also love being outside, going for walks in the woods.
Q. Favorite movie?
Children of Men, by Alfonso Cuarón.
Apparently, I have a few…. but for the most part, people call me Jasper.
Q. If you weren’t a developer, what job do you think you would have?
Urban planner. Fix all the messed up stoplights in Worcester, which are not correctly timed. (laughs)
Q. Favorite restaurant?
Silly’s in Portland, Maine.
Q. Dream vacation?
Q. Favorite website to kill time?
I don’t like to kill time, but when I do kill time, I can spend a lot of it on Wikipedia. You can find so much and everything is linked; one thing links to the other. You get a broad overview of anything that interests you. I secretly love history, and it’s really good for that.
Q. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I was a driver for my school’s van service, which was called Escort, and it would run from 4:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., so if you are working a double a lot of times you would be working from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Once you’ve kept yourself up til 4:00 a.m. it’s kind of hard to go back to sleep. Not at all convenient when you have a 9:00 a.m. class the next morning. Also, the students didn’t treat me very nicely. There were a couple of incidents where I feared for my safety: somebody tried to stop the van and take over, another time somebody threw a glass bottle and it crashed on the top of the van. I love this job, the best job on earth.
Q. How do you learn new technologies?
Pretty much experimentation, but I also find that the easiest way for me to learn is finding a really good example of somebody else’s code. Done the right way, with good conventions, I’ll read through it and experience it visually.
Q. What is your favorite IDE/code editor and why?
VIM. It’s a command line base, I like it because of the text line shortcut which allows me to do stuff very quickly.
Q. Do you have any special secret talents?
I’m a great dancer, not professionally.
Q. Coke or Pepsi?