Each month, we spotlight one of our amazing team members who work hard to bring you great results. Today, we interviewed Tim Dickens. Tim has been a Front End Developer with Mediacurrent for over 3 years. Let's get started!
1. What’s your role at Mediacurrent, both internally and client-related?
At Mediacurrent, internally, I am the Penguin. I handle all penguin-related matters and shenanigans on Mediacurrent Slack channels and believe there's never a bad time for a penguin joke.
Client-related, I am a Front end Sorcerer. I build components and get to solve problems with websites in an attempt to create a righteous user experience.
2. Give us an idea of what professional path brought you here.
I have done many things and have had many experiences. To name a few, and give context:
- Manager of a pizza joint, and also a delivery driver
- I was that dude you spoke to when you called to make a reservation for rental cars and trucks
- US Navy Sailor
- Served as an AT playing with interesting electronics.
- Stationary Engineer
- I was operated as building maintenance for a 65 ½ story skyscraper in Houston, TX
- Truck driver
- I maintain a CDL license and have driven many things. Everything from tankers to doubles/triples, to food that many have eaten.
- Grease trap/septic tank pumper
- You do not realize the smells that are in this world until you suck out the holes that humans have put in the ground to hold funk.
- I was even one of those sales guys that walked door to door, business to business, with a duffle bag of “promotional products”, where we tried to get random people to buy on impulse. This one was not that awesome of a job, just sayin'.
I have done it all.
I have a BSIT in Web Development, Suma Cum Laude, from Purdue University. I started my education on a laptop, sitting in my 18-wheeler at a truck stop, and attending class using a fast-food restaurant’s WiFi.
You see, I had aspirations to be a teacher once. In Texas, all you have to have is a BS in anything in order to enter the 1.5 years teaching program. So I had the plan to get a degree in a hobby, something I played with for fun, in order to achieve my goal. So I went forth and started my degree for Web Development. Eventually, my desire to be a teacher diminished, as I wound my love for building websites.
And now I find myself building the coolest websites imaginable, with the brightest group of penguins and squirrels around.
3. How did you first get involved with Drupal?
While still in school for Web Development, I relocated to VA. In the town that I moved to, there was an ad for a Web Developer; so I reached out and applied.
My email started with this line:
“I am in no way qualified for this job, but what the hell. Hi, my name is Tim.”
The agency took a chance and brought me in as a Full-Stack Developer. After working there a few years, they decided to standardize using open source, and chose to move forward with Drupal.
I gotta admit; I did not like Drupal at first. I could never find anything and there were so many ways to do the same thing on Drupal 7. But annoyance, internet searches, and perseverance, I eventually managed to acquire the knowledge I needed to get the job done.
4. Is there a go-to Drupal module that you like to incorporate whenever possible?
This has to be Component Libraries. Learning the methodology for component-based theming, having Drupal broaden its template scope beyond the default `theme/templates` directory is a must.
5. Do you have any recommended reading or books that you would suggest to others?
Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Usability by Steve Krug.
Having insight into when a user has to use additional brainpower, even if they do not realize it, can greatly impact the user experience. Following standards and common patterns enable a user to maintain a pleasant experience on all sites.
6. Any mobile apps that you use regularly?
Outside of social media, music, and business/financial apps, there are not really many I use. An app must have a practical use for me in my life or it gets da boot...
7. What do you like to do in your spare time?
If I am not playing with my daughter, at the pool, or playing board games, I am playing with websites.
8. What do you like about Mediacurrent?
Don’t get me wrong, the benefits are nice, but they do not compare to our culture. If you were with us, you would know how diverse Mediacurrent is; both in professional knowledge and a bunch of us weirdos. I like being around a bunch of weirdos. :)