Meet the 50 Team: Senior Front-End Dev, Matt Parke

Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUpon


Welcome to our Meet the 50 Team series, where we give you the lowdown on how the people at 50onRed get stuff done. This time we’re sitting down with our Senior Front-End Developer, Matt Parke!

Tell us about yourself and your role at 50onRed.

As a front-end developer on the Product team, I focus mainly on JavaScript and front-end technologies, while constantly learning new things. I work primarily on our Traffic Platform dashboard, and I collaborate a lot with our designer Drew, our UX Lead Bernie, and the Engineering team to implement new features and maintain the app.

How did you get into coding?

I found myself spending a lot of spare time reading about technology, new apps, and startups, and I started to wonder why I’d never tried programming despite always having a love for computers and video games. While working as a mental health case manager, I decided to switch gears and go back to school to take some comp sci courses. I loved the classes, so I stayed for a couple semesters. I was really interested in web technologies, so I started teaching myself as much as I could outside the classroom, which landed me a job in the tech industry. And now here I am.

What made you decide to join us here at 50?

After being interviewed by a few people on the team and realizing I could learn a lot from them, the decision to take the job was easy.

Who are your mentors here, and what have they taught you?

I’d say I have a bunch of different mentors here at 50onRed, because everyone is pretty damn good at what they do. Frank, our VP of Product, and Drew, who I mentioned earlier, both help me think from a product perspective, and I’m always learning new ways to do things in CSS from Bernie. I’m also writing Python now and have been working more directly on our server-side code thanks to Steve, Rob, and the rest of the Engineering team.


What are some tools you use to get the job done?

Tools, hmm. My environment is OSX, and I do most of my code editing in Sublime Text. I use the command line for git and running web services. Most of my front-end work and debugging is done with Chrome dev tools.

What skill do you think is most important for programmers?

The most important skill, for me so far, has been keeping a beginner’s mind.

Tell us a little about the game you’re developing in your spare time. What made you decide to dabble in a different type of programming?

As I mentioned before, I’ve always been into computer games. That’s partially why I became interested in development. Although I work full time doing front-end development, I’m constantly trying to expand my skill set and see what else I can build. I wanted a new challenge, so I decided it was the perfect time to try and write a game.

The game is a snake clone written in JavaScript, and it uses the HTML5 canvas. I’m still working on some of the game’s features and trying to do my own art assets, but the core is finished. The app turned out to be much different than what I’m used to doing with web apps. Overall, it’s been a great learning experience.


You’re the first employee at 50 to be on a roller derby team. How long have you been skating, and do you have any rituals to get amped up before a match?

I’ve been roller skating for a little over a year now. I skated on blades as a kid, which helped me pick it up pretty quickly. As for rituals? I like to take some hits from a teammate before the game starts. That helps me get amped up and in the right mindset for the game.

The tech industry is becoming more and more competitive, especially in an emerging tech hub like Philly. What’s the best way job seekers can gain an edge in this field?

Finding an area of expertise you’re passionate about and constantly learning new things will help you keep an edge.

Check out Matt’s blog and online portfolio, Ordinary Robot

Want to learn more about 50onRed and see what opportunities we have available? Head over to our Careers page.