Meet the Team: Paul John

Q:  How long have you been a developer for?

More than 15 years.  Since 1997. 

Q:  How did you get started?

I was a Physics major in my undergrad.  I also did a Computer Science course at the same time, so I had a three year undergrad and a three year diploma by the time I was done.  Sciences intrigued me but computers got me hooked.  So since then I finished my Master’s in Information Technology.  

Q:  Where did you get your degree?

I went to a school in Australia for my Master’s at the University of Canberra.  I was in Australia for two and a half years before I came here.  I did my undergrad in India, at the University of Chennai.

Q:  When did you move to the US?

In 1999.  I went to India, to do a job training where I met Sumit Verma, and then we both came to the United States.  Sumit came in the earlier part of the year, I came here around June or July.

Q:  Is there a Client Project or a Feature you are most proud of?

The work I did for Region 10.  Only because there was a lot of customization outside of Slatwall.  That was pretty challenging and it also gave me a lot of insight into Slatwall.   I had to expose all of the things that are inside Slatwall on the front end.  

Now that I am working with Phia it is more challenging and thrilling.  With all the experience I gained with Region 10, I was able to come in, plug in and build some nice interfaces: like easy to use UIs, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t work on Region 10 in the capacity that I did.  Both of them are kind of in par, because Phia is really intensive work due to the complexity of the actual website.  

Q:  How do you spend your free time?

That’s a good question.  It’s changed over the years.  When I was single, I was doing 80 hours of just coding.  Got some hobbies like playing with Lego Mindstorms, to keep myself engaged in something else.  Then I got married and started a family.  Before that, I bought a motorcycle and that took a lot of my time, and then when my daughter was born, I had to shelve that.  Then came a singing gig.  I sing bass in a Gospel choir.  We do two benefit concerts a year.  That takes a lot of my free time.

Q:  Do you have a favorite movie?

I am SciFi geek!  Now it’s more like comic book stuff.  I bought into the whole Marvel/DC world.  I binge watch stuff on Netflix.  When we were waiting for our son to be born, my wife and I were binge watching all the Fast and Furious movies.  I love Paul Walker.  Those movies are great, I watched the latest one and I think that is the best out of the whole series.  At some point I’ll get hopefully get my motorcycle back and do a fast and furious sequel.  I’m waiting for my son to grow up so we can both do it.  

Q:  Do you have a nickname?

At work people call me PJ.  Outside of work, at school my friends used to call me Paulie, which is a girlish version of my name and it stuck!   My buddies from high school still call me Paulie, even my wife sometimes calls me that.  

Q:  If you weren’t a developer, what job do you think you would have?

Growing up in India, the only requirement from my parents was that I have a basic degree.  I love science so I picked Physics, because I liked that stream over math or chemistry.  But if I had gotten my diploma or wasn’t exposed to computers I would have maybe done a Masters in that or something in the science field.    

Q:  Favorite restaurant?

I have a bunch of them, but I love ribs, so I’m going to say Fireflies in Marlboro.  They have a brunch buffet on Sundays and it is GREAT!  

Q:  Where would you go on your dream vacation?

In the recent years, I have been talking about taking a trip to Mars. It’s crazy, but if they put me on the flight to Mars I’ll go.

Q:  What if you couldn’t come back?

That’s fine, I’ll terraform Mars, make it livable and stay there.  There’s a new movie with Matt Damon, The Martian, I would do it.  And then maybe I’ll find a Transformer and hitch a ride back.  I’ll find Optimus Prime on the dark side. 

Q:  What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

I should say my first job.  I had just finished my undergrad and at the time in India,  you got a job right away if you had an engineering degree, which is compared to my Bachelors in Physics.  There was pretty much nothing for me to do. My diploma didn’t work and I rebeled against my parents only because I didn’t want to do an engineering degree, because everybody did it.  

So I’m sitting at home and my dad told me that one of his clients was willing to give me a job at his company. It’s a job were you file paperwork to  clear shipping containers.  You are filing paperwork all day, then you go to a state government office where you file the paperwork.  Some days during the week you have to go with the inspection guys to inspect containers.  It’s gross and dirty, I worked there for ten months, and that’s what got me to go to Australia to get my Masters. I just couldn’t take it anymore.  My parents was okay, because I was pursuing my studies.  But It was terrible!  I cried!!!

Q:  Do you have any special secret talents?

It’s not secret, it’s just something I do at home… I cook a couple of days a week.  I have a couple of Indian dishes I can make them really well.   My kids enjoy it.  It’s mostly for them.   

Q:  Marvel or DC Comics?

Here’s the deal: DC Comics, is private just for me, but Marvel, is something that I can share with my daughter who is nine, we both are into it.  We watch it together, we go the movies together, we talk about it a lot.  Since Marvel is owned by Disney, they tone it down for the kids.  Batman is especially dark… even watching Daredevil I didn’t want my daughter watching with me.  I would say DC comics, but because kids, Marvel. 

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