Ask A Developer: Sean Reid

Sean (left) pictured with his lovely wife on a recent trip to Pittsburgh. The statue of Mr. Rodgers in the background is also worth mentioning!

Our Ask A Developer Series dives into the lives of local developers to gain an understanding of their scopes of practice, pathways to the field and advice for future developers. Today we sat down with software engineer , Sean Reid to learn more about how he contributes to the team at iheartRadio!

Name:  Sean Reid

Current title: Lead UX Engineer @ iHeartRadio

Years in the industry: 12+

Fun Fact:  I’ve met almost all of the actors from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Most of them were very cool, others, not so much. 

What made you interested in a career in software development?

I’ve been sitting in front of a computer since I was 7 (which was actually WAY before the internet was a gleam in Al Gore’s eye). I started writing scripts to make redundant tasks easier to manage, and eventually found my way into writing full blown programs. The ability to quickly move from “idea” to “creation” was extremely satisfying. As a result, it’s been pretty much all I do, even outside of the development work I get paid to do every day. 

What is your education background? 

I started college as an education major, and took 15 years to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English. I took a grand total of 3 computer science classes (with mixed results), and avoided math as much as possible. I can tell you a LOT of random trivia about King Arthur, and a few things about postmodern literature.

How has the industry shifted since your entry into the field?

Over the last decade or so I’ve learned and used at least a dozen different programming languages.  It seems like, at a minimum, there is a new paradigm to learn every 2 years. I’ve honestly lost track of all the changes. Honestly, at this point, it’s easier to keep track of what hasn’t changed.

Languages change, patterns change, usually for the better, but at the end of the day it’s all about taking input and returning output. Every question I’ve ever answered has been some form of “starting with this question, how do I get to this answer?”

Please describe your typical day as a developer.

I usually try to get a jump on actually writing/reviewing code earlier in the morning. Then, we have a regular call for the whole team at 10:00 AM EST.  We review the status of whatever we’re working on, and use that as a chance to schedule other meetings and/or ask for a quick assist. 

After 10:00 my day is a mix of planning/review meetings, code reviews, and some code writing. On a good day, I’m free to focus on just writing code from Noon to 2:00 PM.  After that there are a mix of meetings, more code review, and I try to end the day around 5:00 PM.  

This is a best-case scenario day, and I have significantly more meetings in my current role. On a worst-case scenario day, I usually have MORE meetings and/or I’m working with other folks to put out proverbial fires (i.e. bugs in the codebase that are impacting a key function of our sites).

The platform I work on powers 900+ local radio station websites, as well as 100+ nationally syndicated sites, so the best-case scenario days are highly preferred, LOL!

What advice would you give to people in South Carolina looking to get into a career in development?

Network, network, and network some more. I’m an introvert, and this isn’t always my “comfort zone.” But, I’ve gone further than I expected almost entirely because of who I know. And, “who I know” is almost entirely a result of going out and meeting people, moving outside my comfort zone, and making connections. 
The adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know.” has proven to be very true for my career.

What do you love about your current role?

I get to work on products that are used by literally millions of people every day. It’s fun to work on solving problems at that kind of scale!

Sean can be found on our platform mentoring new developers, teaching JavaScript Concepts or yelling “Go Dawgs!” on a Saturday in the Fall. You can connect with Sean via his LinkedIn or in our Slack community @Sean Reid.

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