Our Junior Developer, Justin, is up next in our Meet the Team series.
Justin credits his father, who frequently attends Bitcoin meetups himself, with sparking his initial interest in the cryptocurrency. In the Blockchain offices, his work primarily includes front end development of our products, such as implementing new features and fixing bugs. Despite being the youngest on the team, his skillset and the perspective he brings is well beyond his calendar years.
Justin, an UnCollege fellow, took a few moments away from his busy day coding to chat with me about his most valuable team experiences at Blockchain, his decision not to pursue college after high school and his quadcopter curiosity.**Alyson: What is the most valuable skill you’ve learned as a result of working with our team?**
Justin: I actually think the most valuable skill I’ve learned from the Blockchain team is how to work with a team. Working here has given me the opportunity to learn how large projects are managed and contributed to by many developers in a maintainable way. This is something every good developer needs to know, and the best way to learn is by doing it.
A: Attending college is commonly considered an essential followup to a high school education. What was the thought process behind your decision to apply for the UnCollege Gap Year program?
J: Towards the end of high school, I realized that I was about to make a huge investment in college, both in terms of time and money, without really knowing what I wanted to do there. So, I decided to put college off for while I figured out exactly where I want to see myself years down the road.
“My educational experience at UnCollege has been unlike any other. The program helped me to develop the real life skills needed to succeed after formal schooling, as well as to adopt a more efficient and more positive approach to learning and education in general.”
**A: The freshness and diversity of Bitcoin as an employment field means new positions are being recruited for constantly, some of which did not exist at all prior to Bitcoin’s existence. It’s relatively common for someone who excels at marketing to be hired by a company specializing in a niche interest they may not be so familiar with. **
Because bitcoin is so drastically different from our current financial landscape, do you think it’s essential to have a basic understanding of Bitcoin prior to beginning a career (even a non-developer role) in the industry?
J: I think that when looking for employment in the Bitcoin industry, knowledge of how Bitcoin and blockchain technology as a whole functions should be a given. Personally, I don’t see how I could work for a Bitcoin company without being familiar with the technology our software is built on.
A: What entrepreneurial and leadership skills did you learn during your UnCollege program, that you feel prepared you to tackle this new and extremely competitive landscape?
J: Of everything I learned at UnCollege, I think the best entrepreneurial skills were learning how to speak publicly, communicate professionally via email, and interview professionally.**A: You had mentioned that during breaks at the NYC office, you and Kevin often take turns flying his quadcopter. If you were to challenge Kevin to a [quadcopter race, FPV-style](https://youtu.be/tjzbPvQBzK4), what quadcopter would you choose to race with? What do you think your winnings ought to be? **
J: If I had my choice of quadcopter, I would pick the X PlusOne, which is more like a quadcopter/plane hybrid (not sure if this counts as cheating, but it is technically still a quadcopter since it has 4 rotors). This drone is a Kickstarter funded project and can reach an incredible 60mph. As far as the contest goes, I think that the loser should have to pay for at least the next 3 trips to Chipotle or approximately 1 week’s worth of burritos.
We will be sure to keep everyone informed of the outcome of the soon to be announced quadcopter championship race.
*If you’re in the NYC area, maybe you’ll run into Justin (or Kevin) at a nearby Chipotle. *