Blog Post

Pixel art of Joe Nasevich being interviewed

Interview with Joe Nasevich

Job Title:

Web Developer

Place of Work:

University of Virginia

Industry or specialization:

Higher education

What got you into Web Design/Development/working on the web?

I created my first website as a graduate student circa 1993 while working at a Government research lab. The World Wide Web was new, and I wrote all the HTML using Microsoft Notepad. It was written in HTML version 1.0; CSS and JavaScript didn’t exist yet.

What does a typical day or week look like for you? What sort of things do you do?

No day is typical, but I spend about half my time creating or updating web-based applications, automating tasks and business workflows. I spend about a quarter of my time updating, adding, or removing content, as well as reviewing content before it goes live.  I also do all the software upgrades on our web servers. I create new templates that contributors use to add content to our websites.  I spend about a quarter of my time in meetings, answering email, or completing other administrative tasks.

What types of web technologies do you work with most often?

We use TerminalFour (T4) as our Content Management System (CMS). T4 is a niche CMS for higher education.  I create web content templates using Java, HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, plus we integrate with a variety of third-party tools for analytics, search, etc.  I write web applications using Microsoft Visual Studio (C# ASP.NET) and a no-code Business Process Management (BPM) tool called Decisions.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I have a lot of autonomy – meaning that I have access to the full web technology stack: the CMS, the web servers, the database servers, etc.

What do you wish you could change about your job?

I am more than a little bored with the routine web maintenance and would prefer to spend more time developing applications or managing the department.

Where do you see your section of the web development/design/etc industry going?

Higher Education is moving into the digital era because students demand an online option, so universities need to invest in a high-quality Learning Management System (LMS). Website design has already moved to a “mobile-first” model because students use their phones more than laptops. I don’t think websites are dead, but apps should replace a lot of functionality. I expect AI to make website creation even easier, and I anticipate AI tools like ChatGPT will be used to generate content in the not-too-distant future.

What technology and/or skill do you wish you learned before you entered the industry?

I’m really excited to see how AI will affect website design, but I wish I had more experience with cloud-based technologies like AWS and Salesforce.  In addition, I’ve never written anything using Ruby on Rails or Python.

What are you looking to learn or what skill are you looking to build next?

I’m currently working on my PMP [Project Management Professional] certification.  We’ve started to transition to cloud-based tools like Microsoft Power Platform, so that’s fun.  I really enjoy using Decisions BPM to build no-code solutions.

What would you tell someone to do who’s looking to get into the industry? How should they best prepare themselves?

The computer industry is changing fast, so be prepared to learn about new technologies.  I would still recommend learning core technologies like HTML, CSS and JavaScript for web design, but don’t hang your hat on any one technology, platform, or programming language.  Oh, learn SQL – websites use databases to provide dynamic content, and you need to know how to write queries.

Anything else you’d like to tell future designers, developers, and web people?

Take the time to learn the basics: HTML, CSS and JavaScript.  Even if you use a no-code design tool, you may need to peak under the hood and tweak the code.

Is there a way people can get in contact with you to ask questions, etc?

Search for me online and you’ll find me.  I’m on LinkedIn.

Last Question: If you had to be a zombie and you had to eat someone’s brains, whose would it be and why?

No, John, I will not indulge your zombie fetish!  However, if you haven’t already seen them, I recommend watching two of my favorite zombie movies: Army of Thieves and Army of the Dead.  And Shaun of the Dead is a pretty funny zombie movie.