Born in Sterling Heights, Michigan, Mark has always possessed an artistic knack for the technical side of things. Mark played piano growing up, jammed in several rock bands and learned various instruments for band all through school. His passion extended through college where he earned a degree in Music Technology, an area of study that engages students in creating music with technology and includes performance, composition and production of digital music. Mirroring his passion for music, Mark’s interest in computers and programming also started at a young age. Naturally, after graduation he began working at a recording studio where he found a way to tie in his interest of development into his passion for music.
Combining Music & Technology
“When I started working at the recording studio I found there were a multitude of mundane and repetitive tasks that could be easily automated. So, I took the opportunity to write software capable of handling it all.” And, when Mark says he wrote software to handle things- he really handled them- developing apps specifically to be used by people either in the audio industry or music industry.
Pro Audio Converter – a program that batch converts audio files from one format into another.
Metadatics – used to manage metadata in audio files
At first, the apps Mark built were used only by the employees in the recording studio. “Then, I figured other people might want to use them too, so I put them up for sale online!”
When asked about the complexity of building an app, Mark just smiled and shook his head, “It is really, really complicated! You have to teach yourself different programming languages for every platform. Apple’s code is obviously different than developing an app for an Android, which is why there’s the Apple Store vs. Google Play, and it takes years to learn each language.”
Consider, for example, learning Spanish or French in high school. You probably got some solid basics down (or forgot everything you learned entirely). Then, there were other people that kept taking foreign language courses during college and even studied abroad in Paris or Madrid. Immersed in the culture, they were able to speak the language fluently- but always with a little bit of an accent. Programming languages are exactly the same- there’s always something to learn.
“Apple has a programming language called Swift and program called Xcode 7 that developers can download for free. Using their program you can develop apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and even Apple TV now. In the case of Apple, you have to submit your app for review before they’ll release it, which can be a hassle if you’re trying to get an upgrade out quickly. The upside to that is they’re keeping their app store clean to enhance user experience and keep people coming back to purchase more apps!”
Why Web Development?
“I also did a lot of work on the recording studio’s website, which was a great learning platform and opportunity to experiment with different web technologies. As I began to grow as a developer, more and more people began asking me to help them, too. I saw a great opportunity to begin working as a full-time freelancer, before deciding I’d like to work with other developers too. That’s when I found TM!”
How did you decide TM was the place for you?
“The job posting itself was what caught my attention. The fact that a company was looking for a “Bad-Ass Backend Developer” was pretty awesome. Before I applied I did a little research and TM seemed like it had a relaxed environment filled with people who love their jobs. It was the perfect fit for me.
Today, I handle any code that influences the functionality of a website and logic needed to determine what gets displayed on a page, as opposed to its aesthetics. Basically, what makes the website “work” as opposed to how it “looks!” This includes consistently reading and writing data from a database, validating and handling forms, or overseeing any calculations that need done.”
Favorite Part of the Job & Biggest Challenge
“The biggest daily challenge of my job is staying consistent with the latest technologies. The web is changing so rapidly, it evolves every single day and it’s really such an exciting field to be in. I’m constantly hearing about and learning new tools and web-related technologies. I think that collaboration between teammates helps us learn constantly. Lots of times Josh will ask me if I’ve heard of something, and I’ll immediately go research and learn all about it. I also subscribe to different Twitter feeds and receive monthly newsletters from websites that are industry-specific. This helps me stay current on trends, and up-to-date on new programs and technology!
Now, I have to say that my favorite part of my job is definitely the people I work with. Everyone here is so knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. On top of that, we all get along great!”
Any Advice for Aspiring Developers?
“If you love figuring things out and problem solving, you’re already half way there. The best way to learn web development is to dive right in and start making websites. There are tons of great resources online to learn from, such as Laracasts.com. You can Google literally anything you’re interested in, and there are a million resources ready for you at your fingertips.”
That’s the beauty of technology, isn’t it?