Developer Spotlight: Raymond Camden of American Express
In this installment of the Cosmic Developer Spotlight Series, we sat down with Raymond Camden, a Senior Software Engineer and Developer Advocate residing in Lafayette, Louisiana. Raymond has extensive experience in the technology space, having enjoyed stints at IBM, Adobe and AuthO prior to becoming a Senior Engineer for Developer Experience at American Express. Follow Raymond on Twitter, GitHub or LinkedIn, and enjoy the Q/A.
Cosmic: When did you first begin building software?
Raymond: I began on an Apple 2e (it may have been the +) back in the 80s. My initial reason was to cheat at games (ask me about hex editing for Bard's Tale) but after seeing Tron I was really inspired to become a coder. Boy was reality somewhat different...
What is your preferred development stack?
What past projects are you most proud of and why?
I was big into MUD programming (multi-player online text adventure games, think Zork but with multiple players) and I built a framework to enable easier dialog creation and more thematic elements (time passing, etc). The code wasn't necessarily rocket science, but the end result - enabling more creativity - is something I'm really proud of.
Oh - and I built an app that scans your contacts, finds ones without pictures, and assigns a random cat picture. Yeah, I'm pretty proud of that too.
What are some technologies you are excited about or want to learn more about?
GraphQL for one. A lot of my work involves APIs and GraphQL feels like a real game changer. I'm incredibly excited about serverless and have been (slowly) playing with various different platforms and trying them out.
Do you have any tips for new developers just starting to code?
For web developers, MDN Web Docs is the absolute best resource for learning, period. I'm a big fan of Node School as well since I like the interactive problem/solving experience. I'm also a big believer in building something that already existed. As programmers we've got DRY beaten into our skulls and that obviously makes sense, but when I'm learning a new language or platform, I'll build somethingvthat already exists, like a blog. That way I'm focused on the *how* of building it and not the *what*. The end result may be thrown away, but it's a great way to spend more time learning then trying to figure out what to do.
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