What is your current professional role and how did you get here?

I’m currently the sole developer at seanwes where we help people make a living while doing what they love.  I originally joined the Community there when I started doing independent freelance work out of my house, as I wanted to fill the social gap left by no longer going into an office filled with coworkers every day.  Once there I started talking with various people, including the owner of seanwes, Sean McCabe.  He hired me to do some development projects which evolved into full-time employment.

What was the first app you worked on and what did it do?

 The first iOS app I worked on was an internal enterprise app for medical coding (as in billing codes, not programming).  It was an iPad app that was designed to provide a more friendly and intuitive interface to coding medial charts than a PC, as most of the people at our company doing the work were not tech savvy.

What went well? What could have gone better?

I was proud of the app, and a lot of the coders loved it.  It was much easier for them to touch the medical charts directly and use a streamlined, focused user interface.  It was also a lot easier to manage and support a bunch of iPads than a bunch of Windows laptops and desktops which were more complex, harder to use, and prone to various issues.

On the other hand, we were always constrained by the 9.7″ displays on the iPads (this was years before the 12.9″ iPad Pro was released).  Many of our coders wanted more room to work, and many of them also had vision issues, so a larger screen would have served us quite well.  It was also difficult to make a lot of significant progress because the app was not my sole focus for much of the time I spent at that company.  Split focus and development rarely mix well.

What is your favorite among the apps you’ve worked on?

One of the projects I undertook for seanwes was a complete rewrite and redesign of the Community, including an iOS app.  I’m very proud of the work I’ve done with the Community, and there’s a great roadmap ahead.

At App Camp, we emphasize that it’s important to have interests outside of tech and to take breaks from looking at screens. What are some of your interests outside of tech? What do you do when you need to take a break from work?

Lego has always had a special place in my heart.  I don’t have a lot of time for it these days, but I do put together the occasional creation from time to time.  I usually have some bricks or a small set on my desk to fiddle with instead of the typical stress ball, fidget spinner, or clicky pen.

Why do you support what App Camp does?

The tech industry has such incredible potential, but so much is held back by a lack of diversity.  The more variety we have in the teams we work on and in the companies that produce the technology we use every day the better off we’ll all be.

What do you recommend to those who want to support more diversity in tech?

Supporting App Camp is a great start.  Another thing you can do, if you work in the tech industry, is to elevate the people around you who are underrepresented.  Have their backs in meetings.  Make sure they feel welcome and included.  Celebrate their accomplishments.  Listen, and help when you can.

How can technology be a force for good?

One of the most profound effects technology has had on the world is the proliferation of knowledge.  More people know more about more things than ever before, and that’s becoming more and more true each day.  The more people know the more power they have, and the more control they have over their own destiny.  Being informed and having the ability to learn almost anything at any time is an incredible thing that has already led to a lot of good, and which I hope and expect will lead to a lot more.

Help more kids learn software development. Contribute to the App Camp For Girls Indiegogo fundraiser, get a cool perk, and enjoy the feeling of having helped the next generation of software developers.

Brett Terpstra, Independent Developer
Michael Fey, AgileBits