This is a series I have running, I’ll be featuring different #techygrammer [IG] or #techygrammer[articles] asking questions and sharing it with you guys !
This weeks participant is John aka @martinsoft, We text our way through this Q&A, making it enjoyable for both of us and hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it too!
Onto the Q&A:
- Let’s start with your username, @martinsoft, Martin is your surname and soft is for software?Haha – yep. It’s a bit of a play on Microsoft –
It started as a semi-jokingly as the “company” name I started calling myself as a kid and now its my actual company name ☺
Wow that’s cool, as a kid I always made up names for a company(not knowing what I was going to do) but I never used those names
Haha, yeah the name Martinsoft just kind of stuck..! 😀
It has a nice ring to it.
- You’re an IOS freelance developer, am I correct ?
Yes – that’s right, I’m a freelance iOS developer working through Martinsoft, and I’m also co-founder and CTO at a startup called DASH (@dash_pm) which I launched in 2014.
That’s cool, so by day you’re running a company and a freelancer by night! that’s impressive 😎
It’s the other way round at the moment – I’m freelancing full time at the moment, and working on DASH in the evenings and weekends ☺
oh well its still really awesome!
- If you could please explain how did you get into programming ?
Sure! For as long as I can remember I have always been interested in technical things, and was obsessed as a kid with how things worked. (Apparently on my first day at pre-school (so, about 3 or 4) I asked the teacher “what makes a plane stay in the sky?” lol).
Intelligent people always ask great questions 😀
For a long time I thought I was going to be a robot builder when I grow up ☺
Then it all sort of changed when 2 things happened – firstly a friend got their first computer, and we’re talking the really old ones from the 80’s that hooked up to the TV.
It started out with us playing games on that (loading them off cassette tapes!).
Then the real “lightbulb moment” came when I was round at my grandparent’s house one summer holiday, and my uncle (who was studying computer science and probably was about 17 or 18 at the time) was also there and he was programming his computer.
He was showing me how you could “hack” into some of those early games, and see how they worked, and that you could write your own games, and your own programs to do – pretty much anything you could think up.
From that point on I was hooked – all you needed was a computer and an idea – you didn’t need all the hardware and other things that made building robots as a 7 year old quite tricky 😀My uncle ended up giving me one of his spare / older computers, along with some games and the manuals that came with it, and that was me hooked for life ☺
Wow at the age of 7! lucky you ☺ at that age I didn’t know what programming was 🙈
- Your first programming language was ?I started on that computer that my uncle gave me, which was an Acorn Electron – this was a cut-down version of a computer that was really popular in schools at the time, called the BBC Micro. So, my first programming language was BBC BASIC.
To be honest I haven’t heard of it 😢
I’m not surprised! It’s pretty old! 😀 I think it was mainly popular in just the UK too.
- So you went to college and got a CS degree ?
Yep. Ever since that early age, it was always just “obvious” that I would be studying / working with computers. So I went to college and did A-levels in maths, physics and computing, and then went on to Uni and did an MEng in Computer Science. Sweet!
- When did you start your IOS journey ?
iOS came much later. I had been working in a large consultancy for about 7 years, and had gradually worked my way up the corporate ladder, from development, to team leading, to being a principal consultant and working more in technical architecture. This was ok at first, but eventually I found myself getting really tired with the politics of working on large systems-integration architectures, and was really missing the hand-on, creative feeling you get from coding.So iOS initially started as something I started teaching myself early in the mornings before going to work.I then later left the consultancy and started working at a small gaming company, as a server-side developer, but kept learning iOS in my spare time, until I felt confident enough to switch roles within the start-up and move to their iOS team.
That’s cool, so self taught in your spare time!
Yep, pretty much everything I know – with the exception of Java that we covered at uni – has been self taught.
- If there’s one resource that helped you the most when learning IOS it would be ?
It was the Stanford University course CS193P – it’s available for free on iTunes U, and it was amazing.
It’s updated every year, so it’s always up to date. I’m still amazed its available free of charge.
- You’re an IOS developer so I’m guessing you’re a hardcore IOS fan, normally I’d ask OS of choice ☺Yeah, everything I use is iOS / MacOS 😉
(with the exception of a linux server I also have at home)
- A must have app ?
- Dream tech ?
I’m really looking forward to a time when all cars are self-driving. I think it will not only make transport faster and fix issues with congestion, but also make our travel time more productive or more enjoyable. yess!
- Editor of choice?
I use vi(m) on the command line, and Atom on the desktop. I wouldn’t say I’m a power user of either though! ☺
- You spend a lot of your time behind the screen do you have a standing or sitting desk ?
Sitting, unfortunately 🙄
Sometimes when I’m working from home I’ll rearrange my books and form a makeshift standing desk for my laptop. But otherwise, I’m sitting…. but I do try to take breaks quite regularly (my Apple Watch reminds me to stand up 😉)
haha sounds like you need one of those stands you can add to your desk ☺
- Mouse or track-pad ?
Mouse! Even when I’m working remotely on the laptop, I always carry the mouse with me.
- What about your keyboard ? The built in on your mac or a mechanical one ?Just the apple standard ones.
ah those are touch
Yeah, so I use an iMac (with the standard apple keyboard), and a MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar.
- Are you a snacker when coding ? if so what’s your go to snack ?
No not really – I seem to drink instead of eat when I code! (And I don’t mean alcohol!! 😂). I always have coffee and water with me while I’m coding.
Don’t want you to be drunkenly coding 😂
You just answered my next question about drinks;
- Water/tea/coffee/soda ?so you’re not the English Brit who sips on tea 😁
Lol, yeah, I hardly ever drink tea (apart from matcha which I drink quite often in the mornings).
- Chrome/Firefox/Safari ? Safari😊
- You pretty much self taught yourself all the way up, what is your preference, YT video’s, courses or documentationThese days, I tend to go straight to the documentation to get started. But then I’ll often end up dipping into videos and other tutorials along the way.
I hardly ever learn from books any more….. I tend to learn best by doing, and I always found with books that they were obsolete by the time I got round to looking at them!
yeah that is what happens with books 😞
- So no eBooks or you’re a fan of that ?Definitely a fan of ebooks! ☺ They’re my preferred way of buying/reading now.
(I just don’t buy many that are programming-related)(I just don’t buy many that are programming-related)
ah I see, I also prefer documentation and videos/courses over books. I just can’t concentrate 🙈
- Wrap up, One of your favs about being a freelancer vs working for someone!?
The freedom to decide what projects I work on, and (to an extent) how I work on then.
yip That’s fantastic!
I hope you enjoyed this weeks episode (if you did hit the ❤)
let me know who you would like me to feature next or should I go more in depth with any of the previous participants 😁