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Big Nerd of the Month: Todd Gandee

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Tasha Schroeder

Todd GandeeIn January, Chris Donnelly reigned supreme as our Big Nerd of the Month. For February, that honor falls to front-end developer and HTML5 instructor Todd Gandee. His hard work on internal tools has led to solid products that benefit both students and instructors.

We sat down with him to get some insight to his Nerdy prowess.

Big Nerd Ranch: Congratulations on being voted Big Nerd of the Month! First things first: What do you love about HTML5 and front-end development?

Todd: I would say that I love visual interface development. I started my career in video production, which took me to Flash animation and programming. After Flash was on its way out, I focused on visual development for browsers. In our department, we feel the browser is our platform and JavaScript is the language to control the browser. With better support in browsers for off-loading visual processing and animation to the GPU on any device, programming on the client-side can again focus on a stunning visual experience as opposed to programming for the lowest common feature set or processing power of the device.

BNR: We know you like to stay active by rock climbing and taking part in our office running club. How else do you stay busy?

Todd: The last couple of years have been a whirlwind of changes in my life—getting married, buying a house and having a baby girl—so my time for climbing has lessened. My wife and I are waiting eagerly to get back into it, and we can’t wait to take our girl on climbing and camping trips. We love to be outdoors.

BNR: You also like to travel, and you’ve recently been to Italy. What is your favorite place to visit?

Todd: Italy is my favorite so far, but only because the trip was truly amazing; we biked the Amalfi Coast. From pick-up to drop-off points, we were sleeping and enjoying sunsets, cocktails and multi-course meals on a sailboat in the Mediterranean Sea. Traveling with my wife is always an adventure, with biking, climbing, kayaking and hiking. We have our sights set on South America and Africa next.

BNR: Sounds like it was a great trip! Your ability to give clear, constructive feedback was one of the big reasons why you were voted Big Nerd of the Month. Why do you think constant review and feedback is so necessary?

Todd: If your work isn’t reviewed, you never know if you are doing it right or in the most efficient way. This is true for any type of work, not just software development. It is also important to keep the channels of communication open and positive with your team, because negative communication can quickly spiral into hurt feelings and resentment. Constructive feedback means talking about the good and the bad, and making sure people feel good when they are working hard.

BNR: Speaking of working hard, you’re one of our instructors for the HTML5 Apps with jQuery course. To you, what are the best parts of teaching?

Todd: I have always loved teaching people who are excited about learning what I know. Being able to spend a week with a small group of people who are ready to learn is invigorating. Questions come from people with varying histories in programming, and we have to take what we know and explain it so that it makes sense to them. I also love to see what others are doing the in programming world. There are endless applications to be made, and our students reflect that diversity well.

BNR: We know that our students appreciate that knowledge and enthusiasm—and we do, too. Congrats again, Todd, on being nominated Big Nerd of the Month!

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a Nerd? Check out our open positions and apply.

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Tasha Schroeder

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