Partnering with clients to create innovative, multi-dimensional solutions wouldn’t be possible without our team of experts, their talent, and their passion. Each month, we highlight member of our team—giving you the chance to get to know the PEOPLE behind the capabilities.
Meet Jon Nardini. Jon works as Web Developer at U.Group—creating both the front and back-ends of websites for clients. He’s an expert in Drupal and WordPress with passion for developing creative solutions to difficult problems. Get to know more about Jon here:
Describe your role at U.Group in 140 characters or less.
JN: I’m a web developer at U.Group’s Portland office who specializes in finding creative and elegant solutions in Drupal and WordPress.
How did you discover your passion for web development?
JN: I’ve loved logic puzzles since I was a kid, but I didn’t discover my passion for web development until fairly recently. Up until 2015, I was a pizza delivery driver, not using my bachelor’s degree in social science for anything more than wall art. Then my pizza shop closed and I had to face the big decision: “Do I want to be a pizza driver my whole life?” The answer was a hard “no.” It was time for a career change.
JN: I always had a suspicion that web development would be a good fit for me—fixing bugs is a lot like a solving a logic problem. Plus, programming logic was an enticing subject for me and I had fond memories of building websites on Geocities in middle school (yes, I’m citing Geocities as a source of inspiration). So, I decided to take a chance on this career move and signed up for an “Intro to Web Programming” class at a Portland coding school. Needless to say, I FELL IN LOVE. Turns out, few things are more satisfying to me than the process of scratching my head over a programming issue for hours, debugging, hitting refresh the umpteenth time, and finally seeing the intended functionality/design working beautifully. Cut to four years later, and this is now what I do every day at U.Group. I love the process today as much as I did that first week of programming school. I couldn’t be more thrilled that I took the leap!
Do you have an outside hobby that influences your professional work? What is it and how does it influence you?
JN: I have a podcast called “What Happending?” that’s taught me a lot about web development. My co-hosts and I only watch a TV show’s pilot and series finale before trying to figure out what happened in the episodes in between. When I first started learning web development in 2015, I created a website for my podcast in Drupal as a portfolio piece. Now, that website has become my sandbox for implementing Drupal module and theming tricks I’ve learned along my journey to becoming a full-fledged developer. For instance, I’m currently using my newfound migration abilities to transfer my podcast content from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, and simultaneously building a brand-new Drupal 8 theme.
JN: The podcast has also helped me refine my communication skills in the office. Listener engagement is crucial to a successful podcast but I find that it translates well into being an efficient communicator with both teammates and clients. I’ve found myself treating everyone I interact with as a “listener.” I’m constantly asking myself “Is what I’m saying of interest or use?” or “Can I just get to the point already?” or “Can I present this idea in a more interesting/engaging way?”
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen or read lately?
JN: As tempted as I am to appear sophisticated and give an arthouse film or gripping nonfiction novel as my answer, I must admit that I absolutely loved Avengers: Endgame. I thought it was an extremely well-structured thriller, and a satisfying conclusion to the series.
Before working at U.Group, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
JN: As I mentioned earlier, I was a pizza driver before I went to school for coding. It was a small shop, and I was the ONLY DRIVER for 6 days of the week. I had a lot of fun on that job, zooming around in my car, building relationships with my regular customers, and oftentimes taking 50+ deliveries in a single day. Part of me still gets nostalgic for those years when my car always smelled like tomato sauce. I like to think I’m a poster boy for all the pizza drivers of the world who aren’t sure if a career change is feasible. Take it from me—it totally is!
What is something few people know about you?
JN: I’m a dual citizen! I officially became an Italian in 2015.
Where is your favorite place in the world, and why?
JN: Sea Ranch, California—it’s where my grandparents lived while I was growing up, and it is just the most majestic, serene place on earth. The forest hugs the beach, the townsfolk are ridiculously friendly, and it’s home to the most adorable video rental store.
Want to meet more of the U.Group team? Check out our team page here.