A veteran web developer with the TechChange team, Josh Antonson recently relocated to Mexico City and is working remotely for the next year. Josh, along with our awesome tech team, has helped push our TechChange platform to the next level. We were able to sit down with him before his trip, where he shared some of his experiences over the last year with us.
Q: Could you share a little bit about your background? What originally interested you in TechChange?
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. After my 18 years in Illinois, I decided to go to Pittsburgh to study Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. During my last year at Carnegie Mellon, I was fortunate enough to spend the summer consulting for a financial organization in the beautiful Micronesian nation of Palau, through a program at my university called Technology and Consulting in the Global Community. After seeing the impact of my work on the organization and the country as a whole, I knew that I had to continue to seek out meaningful work in Technology for Development. Once I discovered TechChange, I knew that it would be a perfect fit and would allow me to continue to do cutting edge work as a software developer.
Q: What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on? Has there been anything in particular that you’ve enjoyed or found interesting?
I feel very fortunate to have worked on a lot of really cool and challenging projects here at TechChange. My favorite project would probably be updating our web application to use Server-Side Rendering in order to improve performance and allow pages to be shared via social media. I won’t get into the technical details too much, but it was really cool to be working with cutting edge technology. It was a pretty substantial endeavor over the course of a few months and I’m very proud of the fact that we were able to roll it out to production without any downtime and without introducing additional errors into the platform. We like to joke that “if we are doing our jobs correctly, the users shouldn’t even notice,” so it was great to actually achieve that with a major feature release.
Q: What’s the team like? What are your favorite parts about working at TechChange?
The team at TechChange is awesome! Not only is the work that I get to do so much fun, but the people that I get to work with are equally as fun. My favorite part of being on a such a small tech team is the opportunity to play a major role in decision making and to constantly be learning new things as a Software Developer. For the most part, I don’t really work directly with people on the Creative or Instructional Design teams, but it’s really cool to see all the awesome work that they are doing on a day-to-day basis. We take food very seriously here at TechChange, so going out to lunch with the rest of the team is something I look forward to on most days. I am also a big fan of board game nights, happy hours, and the amount of effort Nick puts into celebrating birthdays. I couldn’t really imagine a better group of people to work with.
Q: What is one thing that you’d love to learn or do in the next year?
One of the first things that fascinated me about software development is how web applications are able to scale with an increasing amount of users. As we continue to grow the number of people using our education platform, I’m very excited to take on the challenge of making sure that the performance and reliability of the underlying technology is up to speed. I feel very fortunate to be in a position to play a major role in TechChange’s growth and am looking forward to the next year.
Q: Lastly, what’s something that not a lot of people know about you?
I have a major fear of stickers. I can’t really tell you why or how it started, but I can say that it’s a big-time struggle when I try to eat certain fruits.