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Interview with Featured Junior Developer, Erin Mahoney 500 500 Jr.DevJobs Hunter Meyer Co-Founder & CEO Twitter LinkedIn CrunchBase Facebook Jr.DevJobs 2024 10/2015 en-US true Erin Mahoney, Junior, Featured, Developers, Interview
Erin Mahoney Picture

Erin Mahoney

Featured Interview
Hi Erin, what got you interested in becoming a programmer?

When I get to the heart of what web development truly means, I see a person that possesses a DIY-attitude. As an artist/photographer, I have always been hands-on with my work. I wanted to have full control over an image or print and the same goes with creating an application. I want to have the control over where I persist data, what framework I'm using, how it should be styled and most importantly, how users will interact my apps. I love that I can create this experience and know that I saw the project through from beginning to end.

I understand you're an artist, how does that help you in your career as a developer?

Absolutely! Being an artist has led me to think about writing code in new and interesting ways. When I create art, I'm always trying to think outside the box, turn something on it's head, and basically be creative! Thinking this way has helped me consider edge-cases more easily when I'm creating a new app. Since I'm most interested in UX/UI, I think about all the different kinds of potential people using my apps and how they're differences will impact the flow. Does this button make sense here? What happens when she scrolls down? Is he aware of this new feature I've added? This kind of consideration is crucial to good UX/UI within applications.

I see that you went to General Assembly, what was that like?

My time at General Assembly has been nothing but spectacular. I've made great friends and have been given so many wonderful opportunities and resources at GA. The entire attitude and philosophy at General Assembly stems from the supportive community it creates. GA welcomes people from all backgrounds with little to no technical backgrounds. This was very important to me since I came from a fine art background! Whereas some coding bootcamps require a timed coding test right at the get-go, GA nurtures and guides new students through an interactive lesson that helps you learn the fundamentals in a non-intimidating way. Diversity is also very important to me in any learning environment since I believe that you can learn so much from all kinds of people. General Assembly celebrates this kind of environment throughout their various programs and it creates these amazing connections and collaborations throughout.

What has been the most challenging aspect of learning to code?

The most challenging aspect of learning code for me has been how to understand code without visual representation! I am very visual in my learning and I recall first learning callback functions. I had a hard time understanding how powerful they were and how much information could potentially be passed through a callback function with just a seemingly simple line or two of code. The examples were too broad and non-relational at the time when I first learned them. It wasn't until I began some of my first projects that I understood the importance of passing functions as arguments to help create more meaningful and reusable code.

Do you have any favorite technologies you like to work with?

Near the end of my bootcamp, I learned Angular JS. It's been a love/hate relationship since I'm still learning but I'm excited to find how powerful and helpful it is. I've even written a brief Medium post about this love/hate relationship with Angular, which you can read here.

Where do you see yourself in two years?

In two years, I hope to see myself working for a company that truly cares about good design and good code. I never wanted to abandon my previous background and education in the fine arts but rather build upon it. If I find myself working as a front-end developer for a company that can bridge art with technology, I would be quite fulfilled.

Do you have any code samples or projects you're especially proud of?

My final project at General Assembly was created out of my passion for art and love of code. If you can believe it, I can't draw or paint regardless of being an artist! I wanted to create something that could empower other people that might possibly feel the same way. So I created Paintdrop, a digital paint-by-numbers application where users can upload photographs that are converted to an interactive paint-by-numbers canvas. Users can select colors unique to the image and fill various parts of that image. They can save and share their art. I learned a lot of new technologies and how to blend them together into a working app while sticking to my love and passions.

Do you have any advice for people just starting out?

My best advice to anyone thinking of switching to web development is to keep in mind your current skill sets. There isn't a need to abandon them but rather build upon them! Focus on what interests you the most and how you can incorporate that into your web development skills. Your coding and whatever you create will be that much stronger if you connect your passion with your learning. Feel free to check out some of my recent passion projects on my web dev site, Medium, or Twitter.

Best of luck!