One thing is for certain and that is the extraordinary range of expertise our engineers bring to the table. But what is truly impressive is how this often extends outside the workplace as well. We chatted with the latest crop of Mojo Engineers, who prove to be no exception to the rule.
Heading up our Boulder team, Adam Steel is an explorer at heart, having lived out of his truck for five years in order to spend as much time climbing and adventuring as possible. His expeditions have taken him through uncharted territory and it is rumored that "The Most Interesting Man in the World" was inspired by Adam.
Adam Robinson is a self taught musician and vocalist. When he isn't strumming away at the guitar he spends his time playing with his two adorable children. Adam made the switch from game development to software engineering while attending New England Institute of Technology, but still considers himself a worthy adversary at Super Smash Brothers.
Originally from Kentucky, Derek Keith consciously chose to drop his accent at the age of 13 because he felt it didn’t complement his career choice. The first family member in three generations to move out of state, Derek now calls Boulder home and enjoys cycling some of Colorado's many trails. (For the record, bein' a stone's throw from Boston, we can appreciate a killah' regional accent, Derek.)
When he isn't programming, Zach Gibb can be found acting in local theater productions and is the proud recipient of the Motif Award for "Best Male Lead". When he can find the time, Zach enjoys a good book and a nice chair.
Where’d you get educated and/or what jobs led you to your new job at MojoTech?
Adam S: Educated at the University of Michigan. Took a circuitous route through outdoor recreation to programming. After working for a couple of startups and an in-house development team, I found MojoTech because it is what I was looking for.
Adam R: I went to New England Institute of Technology for Software Engineering. After that I worked for a workers compensation insurance company in their internal IT department.
Derek: I am self-educated and have dabbled throughout the industry to try different areas of expertise (programming, systems administration, security, networking). I have always challenged myself in each position to set goals and learn new skills; MojoTech is no exception.
Zach: While mostly self-educated, I went to Hack Reactor to refine my skills and get more hands-on training. Before MojoTech, I was a web developer with a small local web development company.
Before your life at MojoTech, what was the most interesting project you ever worked on?
Adam S: I planned and executed a 32-day backpacking and rafting trip across the southern half of Alaska’s Wrangell St. Elias National Park, part of which had never been crossed before.
Adam R: At my last company I led and implemented a software solution for our testing servers called "time machine". This allowed for servers to move a virtual date around on a server for more efficient testing and keeping the servers authenticated by allowing the actual date time service to remain current. Very valuable for data specific testing.
Derek: I had the opportunity to work with Lawgical on a project called ServeManager back in 2009. This project was built on Rails 2.0 and was the project that really set me down my path for Ruby, and back-end development in general.
Zach: While purely a learning project, the process of creating a program to solve the famous N-Queens Problem was the most rigorous exercise of purely algorithmic thinking I have had the opportunity to work on. It was incredibly rewarding to see the execution time tick down - sometimes slowly, and sometimes by giant leaps - with each refactor and optimization.
Now that you’re at MojoTech, what are you most excited about?
Adam S: Writing and sharing code with people who care about software.
Adam R: Iron sharpens Iron. I’m happy to be amongst seasoned developers to help sharpen my skills as a developer.
Derek: I’m excited to become a better developer by being surrounded by smart peers who love what they do as much as I do. I’m also looking forward to the growth of the Boulder office.
Zach: I have often heard the advice to surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. I am incredibly excited for the opportunity to become a better developer and person by learning from the various realms of expertise here at MojoTech, ranging from cycling to functional programming.
Which professionals do you turn to or what blogs do you read for inspiration?
Adam S: Other than the MojoTech blog? The Ello team is pretty inspiring, and I enjoy the Thoughtbot engineering blog, Giant Robots Smashing into Other Giant Robots. Oh, and Links I Would Gchat You If We Were Friends by Caitlin Dewey for a pick-me-up.
Adam R: My family inspires me to do what I do.
Derek: Lately I’ve found I keep up on the MojoTech blog as there are some quite good articles to be had (not to mention I read every article before my interview). I also read Smashing Magazine, and Giant Robots Smashing into Other Robots.
Zach: Inspiration for me most often comes from brainstorming and imagining better ways to do things with other developers and friends.
You’ve been banished to a deserted island with—gasp—no wifi, but lots of power outlets. What one piece of technology would you bring?
Adam S: A stove.
Adam R: 3-D Printer
Derek: I’m going to guess I’d bring something like a Kindle or an iPad. Probably an iPad, while I do enjoy reading on my Kindle - the iPad at least still brings the flexibility of a more enhanced device. Not only would I be able to read, but I could take pictures, use as a compass, play games, and more.
Zach: A satellite phone
What technology is going to take over the world next?
Adam S: Driverless cars.
Adam R: Robots, of course.
Derek: Hopefully encryption.
Zach: The "Internet of Things".