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Developer Spotlight: Lydia Hallie


by Tony Spiro on January 7, 2020

In this episode of the Cosmic JS Developer Spotlight Series, we chatted with Lydia Hallie, software developer and active contributor on Dev.to. She has been getting a lot of attention for her easy-to-follow (and beautifully visual!) educational resources for JavaScript. Follow Lydia on Twitter, GitHub, LinkedIn, and enjoy the conversation.


When did you first begin building software?
I got introduced to the concept of “programming” when I was quite young, around 9 years old. I had no idea this was programming though, I just thought it was something fun you could do as a kid (I mainly built basic games in python!). 

When I was around 13 I started blogging on Tumblr and developed my own layouts on there, that’s when I got introduced to HTML/CSS/JavaScript etc. I loved it, but I had no idea this could potentially be a future career option! (….I also used the inspector tools very often to try and change my grades on my school’s website haha. Little did I know that it did not in fact change the grades in the database, but I felt so cool when I found this feature in the browser. True hackerman moment.).

After graduating high school I got into it more seriously. I started playing around with Ruby on Rails, learned python for real, C#, and of course the love of my life JavaScript.


What is your preferred development stack?
I currently build most of my projects using TypeScript, React, Node, Serverless, GraphQL, and recently started with Golang which has been great so far! 


What past projects are you most proud of and why?
Haha I always feel so bad when I’m not actively creating open source projects so I’m proud of things I created just to make my own life easier. Although I’m not “proud” of it, I always use a simple CLI tool I built to track my daily mood, how my motivation was that way, what I learned that day, and what I wish I’d done better. For some reason I’m always too lazy to write it down in a physical diary, but doing it through the terminal is so much easier.  Tracking my personal progress this way has positively affected my life so much and it let me make connections between certain events and my mood/motivation that I couldn’t make myself through analyzing the data. 


What are some technologies you are excited about or want to learn more about?
I really want to start building more with ReasonML. But I usually don’t really learn technologies just because it’s “new” and “trendy”, I learn them when they’re useful in a project I’m working on. I want to understand tools better that I’m currently taking for granted, like the internals of a browser, computer architecture, networking, cyber security, etc. 


You are very active in the developer community with your educational content. Can you share some thoughts about why you think this is important?
“A teacher can make you or break you”, I’ve had so many horrible teachers in my life that totally ruined my interest for a certain subject, even though the subject turned out to be super interesting and fascinating. It’s the worst when you have a teacher that isn’t actually passionate about the subject and just leaves you confused. I noticed that people liked the way I explain things, and I love showing others how cool and fun programming can actually be. You can be so extremely creative in this field, anything is possible. That said, I could never just do this as my main thing, I’m still programming way more than creating educational content. But I have no hobbies besides coding so it’s the best way to spend my “free time” haha!


Where are your favorite places (online or offline) to go to learn more about emerging trends in technology and software development?
I learn about the latest things through either my network, conferences, or my Twitter feed. Sometimes I go to course websites like Pluralsight, but courses usually don’t really work for me, I can’t focus for long enough haha. I just get started with the new tool, build something with it, and if I run into issues I just reach out to the maintainer :) 


The Cosmic JS Spotlight Series is dedicated to showcasing developers that are building apps using modern tools and contribute to the developer ecosystem. To contribute to Cosmic JS go to the contributor page. To stay connected with us follow us on Twitter and join the conversation on Slack.

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