In this edition of the “Jeengster Spotlight”, we’re excited to bring you the inside scoop on our very own Junior Developer, Guy Ginton!
Although Guy works out of our Tel Aviv office, he grew up in Florida, where he was “fueled by philosophical thoughts and 99c Arizona iced tea.” He studied neuroscience and economics at the University of Florida, but after 4 years in a lab, he realized that contradictory economic theories, PoMo brain philosophy, and 2D graphs were no longer for him. He then began to work in many different roles and industries – from healthcare IT and teaching to working as a controller of an ice cream factory and PR. Now, after gaining software engineering skills through an intense coding bootcamp, he works on our R&D team and has been with us for the past 6 months.
1. What do you love most about your role at Jeeng?
The Jeeng R&D team is set up to encourage a holistic understanding of our products and their markets. Instead of focusing on one programming lens — data management, QA testing, frontend or backend development — we truly get a ‘full stack’ perspective. I saw this on my first day: I received a task. It started with backend work… that affected data schema… then I had to show the new data… and eventually write unit tests. My manager quickly taught me that there is never any voodoo in programming.
Further, we work with modern programs, the best advertisers, and have no legacy code. We actively share and discuss trends beyond the tech and marketing world. I can safely say we’re ready for anything that software updates or the markets throw at us.
2. What advice do you have for someone also interested in that type of position?
In most fields, connections get the job (perpetuating classism). In tech, skills also get the job. Responsible companies will hire a motivated candidate, who has some solutions, and will collaborate and study to approach what is left unsolved.
I feel personal and group projects are the best way to show programming skills. Make an endless project for yourself, and work on another project with friends. This won’t just keep you motivated, but will let you shift interviews from tough questions to exciting ones. ‘Why did you choose to do x when working on y?’ instead of ‘How many windows are in NYC?’ The right Git commit can be worth 3 applications.
3. What’s your favorite quote, and why?
This is definitely always changing. It was once by Carl Sagan, Voltaire, Waking Life or an old joke with the punchline, “So G-d says, ‘Meet me halfway on this. Buy a lottery ticket.’” My current favorite is, ‘(People) are really good at acute compassion, but bad at chronic empathy.’
We learn compassion. We feel empathy. I’m surrounded by strong minded people who are eager to tell others they are wrong. They see their beliefs as crucial to humanity’s existence! That ‘moral stubbornness’ is toxic. It leads to feeling like a victim rather than a survivor. We gotta feel the vibes instead. That’s how you examine peoples’ biases. Learn to empathize with the Other, then you’ll better understand their beliefs.
4. What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
Start learning programming. Now! Get on YouTube and copy someone. Whatever you do — science, law, business, finance — it will be enhanced by programming. You’re gonna make more money. And you’re gonna love it.
5. What superpower would you choose, and why?
Speak every language: Too much potential for an evil genie twist on anything more ambitious. Like, let’s say you’re a healer, you’re gonna get pressed to heal this person over that person. Or if you could read minds some government will try to kill you. There’s so much room to become ungrounded by superpowers. But speaking languages helps you see the world under different lenses, and communicate with others. It’s a superpower to become more human.
6. What’s the coolest thing about your job?
I’m paid to learn many new things, every single day. Things I want to learn. (Also, Jeeng sends employees all over the world to sync.)
7. What’s your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
I’m really, really biased towards Tel Aviv and Cape Town. So I’ll tell an anecdote instead:
I did a 6 month road trip prior to moving to Israel, with minimal plans. Midway I wound up in Willow River, Minnesota. I’m used to metropolitans. This is a city with a population under 500. I slept in Peggy Sue’s Cafe, the only cafe in the city, and met patrons of the city’s two bars. Strangers invited me tubing and to theme parks, while their kids were in school. It did not feel like home. It felt like where I was supposed to be, at that time.
8. What’s your biggest guilty pleasure, and why?
I love chocolate and cheese on popcorn. Seriously. Take that bag out the microwave and immediately add shredded cheese and chocolates. Maybe garlic or salt and vinegar if you don’t have your lactose pills. Butter’s great. Chocolate and cheese is A-mazing. Trust me!
9. What’s your favorite book, and why?
The Bird and the Elephant. It’s a short, new-ish kid’s book I’m translating to Hebrew for my niece and nephew. I think people should examine life from a young age.
10. What’s a pet peeve of yours that no one knows about?
I was brought up with old school manners. Like, upside down fork in the left hand, even though it’s 100x easier to shovel food with your right. Now restaurants seem chatoic. People, pick up after yourselves! Why is some underpaid person touching your disgusting napkins, right before they serve someone else food? Also, I eat everything in front of me — there’s people starving in Africa. Still asked, “Are you finished?” “No, was gonna lick the plate.” Can we all learn a knife and fork vertically centered on a plate shows you’re done eating? Figure it out!