Sys Admin to Dev with TDI 13

Threads Dev Interviews

I am finding developers on Threads and interviewing them, right on Threads. You are welcome to follow along and let me know on Threads if you would like to be interviewed.

“Write lots of code. Build things. And most importantly, have fun!”

Wayne Simmerson ( on Threads

Today we have Wayne, Your profile mentions being *Unix Admin, did you do that before becoming a developer? If so, how did that transition go?

I do both currently. I’ve always loved programming but ended up joining the 🇨🇦 military out of high school. There I was working on some pretty intense Unix systems. During that time I took college Java courses on the side and found ways to put that skill set to work there as well. I’m told some of my stuff is still in use there more than a decade later.
After retiring from the forces, I got a job as a Linux sysadmin at my current job.

Here there were several apps written in other languages by my predecessors that needed maintaining and further development. So I took it on as well. My boss recognized my skills pretty quickly and the rest is history. Any excuse to write code. 🤣

When did you first learn computer programming? And did you take courses or self-taught at the beginning?

@ryan.swanstrom thanks for doing this. It’s fun. 😁 I have to think back a ways here. I started learning, I want to say ‘93/4. My math textbook had little snippets of Basic in the margins to show how to solve the problems in code. Once I realized my old DOS PC had QBasic built in, I was hooked. The following couple years of high school I took computer science classes, learning WatCom Basic, Turing, and Borlands Turbo C++. Later on I took various college courses and learned on my own.

For some that don’t know, what is a Sys Admin and what does that role entail?
How does that knowledge help as a developer?

Its building, maintaining and securing the infrastructure that your apps and websites run on. IMHO, it’s essential for developers to have at least a basic understanding of it. If you need to upload files, you should know how your storage works. If you need a database, how to set it up. If it’s webapp, you should know how to serve it out. But, I have encountered developers who struggled with navigating the file system though a shell so I could be wrong, I’m not, but I could be. 😜.

Honestly. It’s something that I would like to move away from. First love is coding and I’d really like to focus on that. I basically have two jobs and enough work to fill a schedule with both.

What is you current favorite stack and tools for development?

Right now it’s Django & React. I handle them both in the same project with PyCharm. Makes everything so clean and easy.

The community edition is free, but missing some features, if you want to try it. I’m a big fan of the IntelliJ IDEs.

What are some of your favorite communities (online or in-person) for connecting with other developers?

Online. The current favorite is @threads. Which had been awesome. But Reddit and some Facebook groups as well.
In person, though I haven’t been there in a few years now, is a local hacker space that’s been pretty great. I don’t think they’ve joined threads yet though!

So, you are learning C# and .NET, how is that going?

DotNet definitely doesn’t get the same kind of love from the community that other languages/frameworks get(those I’ve talked to that do use it seem to love it), quality learning resources have been hard to find. Even Microsoft’s tutorials that I’ve looked at haven’t lived up to my expectations. That probably says more about me than them though. I managed to picked up this book [C# 11 and .NET 7 by Mark J Price], so now it’s just finding the time to work through it. So far so good.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a young person (high school) hoping to get into programming or tech?

Write lots of code. Build things. And most importantly, have fun!

How can people find you elsewhere online?

I killed my old blog a few years ago, but I’m considering resurrecting it. Threads will be the first to know if I do. I forgot about my LinkedIn!…

See the full interview on Threads: @ryan.swanstrom • Threads Dev Interview #13 I am finding developers on Threads and interviewing them, right here on… • Threads





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