Blog Post

Pixel art of Len Porzio being interviewed

Interview with Len Porzio

Job Title: 

Retired Software Developer

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

Long time software developer and engineer eventually led to DOD web support role.

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

Worked on multiple web systems in multiple computer languages using multiple platforms and APIs.

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

JavaScript, ReactJS, NodeJS, PHP, Dot Net, VB/C#, C++

What was your favorite thing about your job?

Any programming and database development related to analytics.

What do you wish you could have changed about your job?

Focus on a limited set of technologies; e.g., DotNet or MERN or MEAN rather than all things web.

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

AI will eventually replace hand coding because it is impossible for newer developers to be effective and efficient in the myriad of technologies present in most companies. Programming will then become a much higher level of language interaction as we evolve how we interact with AI. 

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

Impossible to say because the industry has been so fluid. But if I had one wish for those entering the profession it would be for them to learn solid development engineering and design principles at a platform and language agnostic level. So much of my time was wasted re-engineering cut and paste garbage left behind by eager inexperienced developers and chasing bugs in code that was poorly architected.

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

I’m done with the profession but I foresee many of my skills being useful in fiction writing in the future. To new developers I would say be slow to adopt newer technology; e.g., learn what Mongo and graph DBs are but make relational DB your ground truth.  So much of what’s popular is pushed by niche players and, like the guy holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

What questions should I have asked that I didn’t?

Developers should ask themselves: What are the core industry standards that will stand the test of time like SQL, C, JavaScript and HTML? What development methods will make my life saner over the long haul such as encapsulation, refactoring, cohesion, context and decoupling?

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

Get grounded in the engineering fundamentals and most pervasive languages (not necessarily the popular ones.) Then carefully choose your job based on who your mentor will be and what kind of rapport you will have with them. I found learning on my own ten times less efficient than learning from the masters though it did strengthen my initiative and character.

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

The transformation of the development profession underway is from a creative process to an engineering process and finally to an automated process which will eventually be AI rooted.

Right now, we are in the middle of that transformation with still some creative latitude.  If you are a creative person, make sure you find sufficient creative outlets to keep you engaged when your job eventually becomes more task orientated.  This will happen quickly over the next decade and has already begun with the current day reliance on frameworks.

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

Elizabeth Holmes because there are too many fakers in the world and she would probably be tasty. As a zombie my priority would be to seek and destroy those with no integrity or respect for others.