Given the critical role technology plays in many aspects of our lives, it’s no surprise that front-end developers and engineers form the backbone of business operations. U.Group is no exception—our team of developers play an integral role in creating seamless website experiences for our customers.
Describe what you do at U.Group in 3 words or less.
DW: Front-end web developer.
How did you discover your passion for web development?
DW: After managing my own websites for several years as an independent artist, I became fascinated by the coding aspect of it. I wanted to understand it, and more importantly, how to use it effectively and wield it as a tool. I received a scholarship for an online coding school and dove into the material, fully determined to learn everything I could. It’s super satisfying to create something you can see on a webpage and make it do things when under the hood it’s all a bunch of script and syntax.
What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
DW: The Aveda Living Blog is something I’m enjoying being part of. They have such a strong brand and everything is on point from the photography to the typography. Being a creative, I can’t help but appreciate all the layers of it. Each aspect is well considered with a clean presentation.
Do your web development skills/preferences trickle into other aspects of your life, besides work?
DW: Absolutely. As a developer I’m constantly learning and eager to take on new technologies. With my background in art, I’m looking for more ways to merge my coding skills with my creative abilities. I’m interested in making VR/AR experiences working with Unity and am in the process of getting that going. Even my hobbies are code-based these days.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen or read lately?
DW: In The Chalice and the Blade, Riane Eisler examines how in our deep historical cultural origins we underwent a shift from a partnership model of society to one based on domination and force. What’s more is she also puts forth how we could make a conscious shift toward the gylanic model for a better future. It’s a thought-provoking read and has been on my mind a lot lately.
Before working at U.Group, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
DW: In the late ’90s I spent a few years working as a stand-in and extra in Los Angeles. Each day was a new set and a new situation, which makes for some random experiences. It’s hard to pick, but I’d say the most interesting thing I worked on was Star Trek: Insurrection. Every part of making that movie was exciting. I got to rub elbows with the cast and hung out on the set of the bridge between takes. When we were on location in the mountains, I was helicoptered up to the set. There were shoots with controlled explosions and special effects. You can see me at the end of the film in the final scene before the crew beams off the planet.
What is something few people know about you?
DW: I’m ambidextrous and will use both my hands simultaneously on independent tasks without really thinking about it. This works well for me in art making, especially when I’m glassblowing because it often requires using two hands to do different things at once. But I also do it when I’m painting. When I’m in the flow I will either have a brush in both hands, or I will paint with one hand and erase with the other.