Startup Life: Teacher Turned Snacker/Coder Ben Sheehan
When he's not eating ice cream sandwiches, pretzels or anything else he can find in the kitchen here at Subtext Media -- honestly, he's a food vacuum -- Ben Sheehan helps write the software behind DailyUV.com. So what's his story, anyway?
What did you do for work before joining DailyUV?
I taught history and English at a private school in New Hampshire for nine years. I also lived on campus, in a dormitory, with sixty teenage boys. It was quite the life!
And what is your role here?
At Subtext, I am a backend web developer; I help write the computer code that powers dailyuv.com, but most of what I write is "under the hood". When you have complaints, take them to the front end folk! I am also an avid eater of snacks and annoyer of colleagues.
Annoyer of colleagues? I haven't noticed that ... much. Anyway, speaking of snacks, do you have a favorite?
Donuts from Mike's Store in Hartland. Half a donut is a full meal, so I eat three full donuts and figure I'm covered for a couple of days!
What would you say is the biggest difference between a high school class and your colleagues at DailyUV?
Age? I jest! As a teacher, running a class was about reaching a common goal, but we had to do that in unison. Here at Subtext, we spend much of our time working toward discrete goals, on our own or in small teams, and then we reunite on a daily basis to keep each other appraised of our progress. Two different paths, but both Subtext and teaching are about progressing as a group.
What’s the most satisfying aspect of your work as a developer?
When I am faced with a difficult task, for which I'll need to learn new coding techniques and come up with elegant solutions to problems, finishing the task is a serious rush. Computer code can look like a jumbled mess, especially to the untrained eye. But the best code is clear, concise and versatile. When I have those rare moments of writing great lines of code, that feels very good.
You folks have your own language. Please translate “The site just stopped working!” into words only developers can understand.
Our API is receiving null values from the front end app, throwing an exception and isn't handling this error. We need to adjust the backend method to respond to null values and return JSON payloads that Ember can parse. ;)
Word around the office is that you’re buying a house. Congrats! Tell us a bit about it, concluding with a description of the first party you’re going to throw there.
A three bedroom in Quechee! First party will be called: Come help us finish painting. Wine required.