Last week we heard from Alison Tinker and learned more about the challenges women face working in STEM. This week, Carlos Lantigua talks about his experience working in front end development, and how you must have passion to succeed in this field.
Meet Carlos Lantigua, Front End Developer
How did you career in tech begin?
It’s weirder than most…I began my career serving in the United States Marine Corps for ten years doing logistics, nothing too technical. After that, I worked as a quality inspector at a major airplane manufacturing company—again, nothing technical. A friend of mine encouraged me to look into programming, so I started researching and began reading about C and C++. I struggled with it for about a year or so, and then that same friend introduced me to a code school, Lambda School.
My options at the time were to either go to code school for about a year with a part-time job or go to a traditional four-year college, which would’ve been a huge burden on my wife and family. I ended up choosing the code school route and went on to become a technical mentor at Lambda School mid-way through the year-long program. This position lasted a year and a half and allowed me to get more involved through guiding lectures, providing countless code reviews, 1 on 1 sessions, answering challenging questions, and explaining difficult technical topics.
Traditional college vs. code school—is there a clear winner?
There’s no clear winner. A lot of my Lambda classmates had a bachelor’s degree in computer science but still didn’t feel comfortable passing the challenges/tests they’d have to go through in order to get a technical job. Code school really teaches you what I believe to be specialized applicable skills. College, on the other hand, goes into theoretical problem solving, operating systems and other subjects which may not directly be programming-related, but are skills you need and help mold your way of thinking. Honestly, you probably don’t need a four-year degree to build web apps, but it can really help teach you how to break things into steps and solve them in a different way.
What’s a challenging project you’ve worked on recently?
Recently, I was on a team that helped a startup client of ours automate a very lengthy process. This involved a lot of dynamic data triggered by user responses to multiple surveys from a 3rd party API with hard-set rate limits. With the client, we designed and built a product that considered all of the potential use-cases, as well as, the immediate problem. It was unique in that their client-facing visuals would be shown through PDF rather than an app. This forced us to think outside of the box – we came up with new ways of incorporating the data and design elements.
Through constant collaboration, we delivered a product that carried out more than the initial scope of the problem. We maintained focus on the future scaling needs by separating key components as we developed in case the client wanted to move away from that 3rd party technology and into one of its competitors.
You’re a front end developer, is design a huge part of your job?
What advice do you have for someone getting started in front end development?
There are a lot of different avenues to get into development. College is a great way but may not be accessible to everyone. Self-learning can also be another solution or even a code school. My path was a mix of both self-learning and a code school. The greatest requirement I would place on anyone is passion. A passion for learning, listening, sharing ideas, and curiosity. We get to explore a lot of the “but how does it work” question that many of us would ask as kids when we got a new toy.
Stay curious – just continue to read, listen and try to learn by doing.
Who’s your dream client for SingleStone?
I would love to see SingleStone build more client relationships with startup companies. There is an amazing feeling of partnership when working closely with a client that has a vision for a great product that you get to be a part of. Seeing the fog begin to lift on what this project will become as you go through planning, design, and sprint iterations is a great experience that makes you appreciate what you can do for others.
What’s the single best part of SingleStone, in your opinion?
Are you working in front end development and heavily prioritizing design? Are you working with real people? Reading this post and intrigued about working at SingleStone? We’re hiring. Check out our open positions.