This post is part of a series highlighting the talented team of UpTrending. We believe in hiring the best and brightest in all areas of expertise, and it shows in the wide range of personalities and skills we have on our team. But our team members are more than just talented professionals – and you deserve to know them a bit better.
This month, we get to talk with Mark Heinsman, a key member of our Web Development team. Mark joined UpTrending earlier this year, and comes from a background of remote agency work, as well as freelance.
When people ask what you do, what’s your answer?
“I build websites.”
Simple enough. How’d you get started with developing websites?
I dabbled in web development back in middle school but it was in the form of building extremely rudimentary, table based, flat HTML pages using Microsoft Word. I didn’t really get into the field until college.
Was Programming your course of study?
Actually, I received my Bachelors in Advertising with a Minor in Graphic Design.
What’s your path from art to development look like?
I spent two years as an Art Director at an agency here in Virginia Beach. I then transitioned into web development for a small remote agency that specializes in nonprofit work. Art has always been a big part of my life but coding has become more of a passion in recent years.
And after those stops, you joined UpTrending. Why?
UpTrending is a remote agency, but it isn’t small. I loved the flexibility of working remotely but I was tired of working at a smaller shop where I had no backup when multiple deadlines hit at the same time.
Speaking of your backup and support team, what’s a common misconception about developers?
We’re all nerds.
Break the stereotype, then – what are some of your hobbies?
I’m really into rock climbing. It’s really healthy to step away for the computer for a couple days and get outside!
Do you find any correlation between rock climbing and coding?
Would it be a stretch to say that the problem solving aspect of climbing translates into my coding skills? That’s my favorite part of my job – the problem solving aspect.
Can you give an example?
After learning how to code for about four months I was working on a customized e-commerce site. The company I was working on it for had me on part-time to test my skill levels. My boss had been coding for years and after I spent all night solving a complicated plugin hack to add a feature we were working on he was shocked and said, “How the heck did you do that?!” The next month they hired me full-time.
Wow, that’s awesome! So, what’s your least favorite part of the job?
It’s frustrating when clients choose to do something I know is not in their best interest, but they won’t listen to my professional advice. Thankfully that doesn’t usually happen!
Take a second to talk to future clients, and anyone who works with developers. What advice can you give them?
Make sure the project deliverables a clear. Don’t forget to mention any big functionality till the end.
And speaking of clients, can you talk about some of the client work you’ve enjoyed most?
And that is partially because of your hard work. What do you think makes you good at being a developer?
I’m a fast learner. Also, a big key for me is having fun at work. If I can enjoy building a site and find something fun about it, the whole thing goes really smoothly.
Switching gears for a minute, you talked about how much you love working remotely. If you could live anywhere, where would you go?
Well, I grew up in Taiwan but it’s a little far. I would love to live in New York City. The big city reminds me of home where I grew up. I love the business and how there’s always something going on up there.