Midterm Reflection: Startup Culture, App Development, and AngularJS

I enjoyed working on the midterm assignment and learning from an experienced web developer. This assignment forced me to go outside of my comfort zone and interview someone I’d never before met or interacted with. As a relatively shy person, this was difficult for me, but the developer I interviewed, Dave, could not have been nicer and more approachable.

I connected with Dave through one of my colleagues in the Office of Advancement at Georgetown. My colleague’s boyfriend owns a software and app startup, and my colleague mentioned that her boyfriend would definitely know a web developer that I could interview for this assignment. Several days later, my colleague connected me with Dave via email, and he very quickly answered my lengthy list of questions. This past week, I spent some time following up on a few questions with him because I was interested in learning more about his perspective on those topics (particularly, why Stack Overflow is so great).

One of the most interesting things that I took away from my conversation with Dave was his warning about the culture of overwork that often exists in startups and tech companies. He made an important point that a company might offer you three free meals a day, a place to nap, and a gym, but that is likely because they expect you to spend most of your life there. Tech giants like Google and Apple boast about the amenities available to employees on their campuses, but does this come at the expense of having a life outside of work? Even if I don’t continue with web development any further after completing this class, Dave’s advice to be wary of this type of work culture and environment will remain in the back of my mind no matter what field I pursue a career in.

Dave’s mention of the AngularJS framework also piqued my interest. I had not heard of AngularJS prior to conducting this interview, and I spent some time afterwards researching the framework and what it does. From what I am able to comprehend, AngularJS can be used in app development to make an app more readable, interactive, and dynamic. The AngularJS site sums up the framework as “HTML enhanced for web apps,” but I know there is much more to it than that. Although we won’t really touch on app development in class this semester, I’m interested in digging more into this topic and seeing how app development overlaps with more “traditional” web development. As the usage of web and mobile apps only continues to increase, I’m sure frameworks like AngularJS will become even more important.

Overall, speaking with Dave was an enlightening experience. It was reassuring to learn that, even as a seasoned web and app developer, he relies on Stack Overflow when he has questions or is unable to figure something out. I’m glad that I created an account on the site when I was struggling with last week’s jQuery slideshow assignment—I’m sure I will be consulting it frequently throughout the rest of the summer. Speaking of the jQuery slideshow, I was finally able to get mine to work!

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