This is the first in a series of interviews that we'll be doing with the team behind Slatwall. This week we sat down with Ian Hickey, the chef-turned-developer who brings a lot of hidden talents to the team. Ian is a full-stack developer that contributes heavily to the core while also cooking up some amazing Slatwall implementations for our clients.
Q: How did you get started as a developer?
In a previous life I was a chef, and I started writing android apps to help in a chef capacity. I made apps for things like inventory management and recipe costs, and I really liked it. I decided to see if what I made could be brought to other chefs, which I also really enjoyed. I realized that to take it to next level, I would need to go back to school and take it seriously, and that’s what I did.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
I haven’t had a ton of time to do this lately, but when I can, I really like making tools that other people on the team can use.
Q: Biggest/hardest project you have ever worked on?
Because working here is such a team environment, I don’t feel overly-stressed by any single aspect of the projects here. Back when I was working by myself it was a lot more overwhelming. I was trying to do front-end development, back-end development, and handle calls all on my own, so it was a lot more challenging.
Technically, working as part of a team developing a way for bio-pharma shops to bring chemicals to market was extremely challenging in the science sense (both physical and computer).
Q: Project you are most proud of?
I am most proud of Slatwall. I feel like I’m a lot better of a developer working with this team, and getting more senior peoples feedback. Over the course of the year that I’ve been here has been huge for expanding my abilities.
Although I did have this salt shaker prank app...
Q: Best resource you have found for your work?
Not only did ten24 find me on Stack-Overflow, but I am also an active participant on it. On a daily basis people help me on there, and I contribute to it as well.
Q: What is the most challenging part about being a developer?
Time management. It's one thing to know the best way to get something done, but you really have to manage your time well in order to implement things the best way in that time frame.
Q: Advice for future developers?
Study the fundamentals and actually use them. I think it helps because the better you can write code, the more it helps the team. I strive every day to write better code, and the more you understand the easier it is to benefit everyone.
Q: If you had to code in 1 language for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Thats a hard question. This weekend I spent all my time playing with typescript. I like typescript because it’s like Java. Since I’m better at java than any other, server-side, it would definitely be Java, or one of the JVM varieties.
Q: Favorite movie?
Joe Versus the Volcano
Q: Favorite snack from the kitchen?
Sour Patch Kids
Q: As a previous chef, what is your favorite local lunch place?
I would definitely say Theater Cafe.
Q: Favorite video game?
I don’t play video games, but I’ve been developing add-ins for Minecraft for my 6 yr old, so I’ll go with Minecraft.
Q: Favorite restaurant?
Craigie Street Bistro in Cambridge.
Q: What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
For two days I was a carpet cleaner. That was a pretty bad job.
Q: Do you have a secret hacker name?
Q: What is your favorite IDE/code editor and why?
I really like Eclipse for its versatility and because it crashes on me all the time. I really like that it looks like it was designed in 1994.
I use Eclipse for ColdFusion and Java. Lately I’ve been digging the brand new VS code which is the new free version of Visual Studio for typescript and programming. A couple people in the office are using it now as a subeditor in Eclipse.
Q: What was the last conference you attended?
I went to a conference in SF two years ago that was all about the brain. I was studying artificial intelligence, while my wife was studying learning, so we went together to hang out and go to the conference.
Q: Do you have any special secret talents?
I can juggle 4 balls, solve a Rubik's cube in under a minute, play drums and guitar, and I studied speed reading.
I think thats all of my secret talents...
Q: Coke or Pepsi?
Q: Marvel or DC Comics?
Marvel because my 6 year old goes with Marvel.