Blog Post

Pixel art of Jordan Leven being interviewed

Interview with Jordan Leven

Job Title

Senior Software Engineer

Industry your in or any specialization youve done

I work on APIs and web services in the financial technology industry.

What got you into Web Design/Development?

In high school, I built my first website for my parents’ veterinary hospital. As part of this first website experience, I built a web application with an internal-use intranet, a client messaging service application, and a pharmacy portal for clients. I was very grateful for the support of my parents, who purchased WebObjects for me despite the fact that I didn’t exactly know how to use it (and, later on, ended up selling the license on eBay).

Throughout the rest of high school and college (including during some less interesting classes), I continued to develop websites. After college, I was working for Apple Retail when I was accepted into a six-month internship with Apple Corporate in Cupertino. Here, I worked in Apple’s Information Systems and Technology department’s (IS&T) world of web services and applications. This was both personally exciting for me (considering I am a huge Apple fan) but also gave me the professional skills and experience I needed to land my first job as a developer at the University of Virginia.

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

For me, a typical week inevitably includes Agile meetings like standup, refinement, and other ceremonies. Outside of that, my day-to-day is predominately spent coding and working on a portfolio of different microservices. On any given day, I’m in the weeds of Java and Go.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

My favorite thing is the autonomy to learn new frameworks and languages. We’re given dedicated time to learn new languages, frameworks, or design patterns. This has allowed me to dip my toes in some languages I might not have the opportunity to work with in traditional web-based engagements, like SwiftUI.

What do you wish you could change about your job?

Like every job, you sometimes get bogged down by a plethora of meetings. We have policies in place (like dedicated days with no meetings) that help give us some breathing room but some meeting-heavy days, it can feel like you reach the end of the day and didn’t accomplish everything you hoped to.

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

With mobile traffic rising and mobile processors becoming more powerful, I imagine the shift will continue from heavy backend processing to client-side processing (a la headless CMSs) that can push UI generation further to the client side.

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

If I had the ability to go back in time, I wish I would have formally studied a backend programming language before getting into web development. I’m largely self-taught, so there was a lot of trial and error when it came to the correct approach to building an application. When I was originally learning PHP, I purchased a calendar application from Code Canyon and started disassembling it to getter an idea of how I could take design patterns from this single application and use it to build something completely different. Had I had some foundational academic experience, either from a classroom or other learning vehicle, it would have been a more straight forward learning experience.

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

I’ve spent the past few months getting deep into Swift and Swift UI, so those are my next steps. I’m a big fan of polyglottism and firmly believe that learning any additional language can teach you patterns or approaches that are application in the language you’re more fluent in.

Is there a link/thing youd like to promote and/or a way people (social media, blog etc) can get in contact with you to ask questions etc?

I’m on Twitter @jordanleven. I also write some articles linked on my website that might be interesting to people who are looking for posts about advanced uses of Git, feature flags, mutation testing, etc.

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

I’m going to take the easy way out and say a fictional character so I don’t have the weight of thinking about unnecessarily ending somebody’s life on my shoulders: Dennis Nedry. I’m a huge Jurassic Park fan and I’m not sure I’d feel bad about eating the brains of the main antagonist.