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Big Nerd of the Month: Jason Reece

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Tasha Schroeder

June’s Big Nerd of the Month is the superstar developer behind the newly revamped Big Nerd Ranch website. He worked efficiently and tirelessly to help us turn our our big ideas (and even our vague ones) into a reality, with patience, kindness and brilliance. He not only made the site look great and work well, he produced a clean build that sets us up well for future iteration.

Our Big Nerd of the Month is none other than Frontend Web Developer Jason Reece!

jason-reece

Big Nerd Ranch: Congratulations on being named Big Nerd of the Month, Jason. We love the new site. What part of it are you most proud of?

Jason Reece: I feel the biggest sense of pride when I think about the level of trust and support that Big Nerd Ranch gave me over the course of the project. From choosing libraries and tools (like my own open source project, css-burrito), to making decisions on responsive breakpoints and user experience edge cases, I always felt comfortable voicing my (often strong) opinions.

BNR: You were injured in the midst of revamping the website. What happened?

JR: For many years, I have had a serious addiction: the skateboard. And with skateboarding comes the occasional injury. This time around, it was the tip of my middle finger. I think it was a stress fracture. Have you ever tried to type while wearing a finger splint? It’s awesome…

That said, after a few PEMF therapy treatments, I was back in business.

BNR: We’re glad you survived to code another day! In their nominations, the Nerds repeatedly mentioned that you’re one of the kindest, most patient Nerds around. What’s something that might shock them to know about you?

JR: Well, I hope I have a few surprises up my sleeve. I think that my patience comes from my meditation practice. For a number of years, I’ve practiced Vipassana meditation, often for up to two hours each day.

Years back, I attended a free, 12-day, silent meditation course at a Vipassana center just a few hours outside of Atlanta. I’ve never been the same since. I’d recommend it to anyone on the “path to Nerdvana.”

BNR: Ok, we have to ask. What’s with the blender in your photo?

JR: I have a very close relationship with my Vitamix. Every day, I make my breakfast and lunch with it. I have butter coffee for breakfast and a superfood smoothie for lunch. I’m always walking around the office with a large Mason jar (often with bits of smoothie on my nose and face). I usually don’t eat any solid food until dinner, but there’s a good chance that the Vitamix gets used for that meal, too.

BNR: That must be the secret behind your development superpowers! Why is frontend web development your specialty of choice?

JR: I’ve always had an interest in design and user interaction. In addition, I love to solve problems, and I seem to thrive in chaotic environments. As it turns out, that is the perfect mix for a frontend developer.

More specifically, I am very interested in the world of Sass and responsive web design. It is still a relatively new frontier, so there are lots of fun problems to solve.

BNR: What is the best advice you can give someone who is looking to become a software developer?

JR: I can recommend a few things:

  • Embrace the feeling of being lost in the woods. There are infinite things to learn, and it can feel overwhelming.
  • Be curious. You’ll learn things at a faster rate when you are having fun.
  • Surround yourself with brilliant minds. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions.

BNR: That’s solid advice. One last question before we go. Like last month’s Big Nerd of the Month Mat Jackson, you say you’re a stellar air drummer. Which song brings out the best of your ability?

JR: OK, I have to come clean: I don’t know how to play air drums. I just made it up because I thought it sounded funny, but it keeps haunting me. Phew, it feels good to get that off my chest.

There you have it. Jason’s secrets are revealed! If you think you’ve got what it takes to become a Nerd, check out our open positions and apply to join the team.

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Tasha Schroeder

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