MJS 024 Aaron Frost

This episode can double as a My JavaScript Story and a My Angular Story and features Aaron Frost. Aaron has been on both JavaScript Jabber and Adventures in Angular. He has been a principal engineer for four years and recently organized his fourth NG-Conf.

How did you get into programming?

Aaron was working as a loan officer when he decided he needed a new career. He went to work at an accounting support phone center. There he discovered he was good at Sequel. He tried out for the QA team; the UA automation made sense to him. He became a senior QA and in 2010 jumped to working in development full time. He knew JavaScript; which made everyone wanted to hire him. He learned JQuery too.

What was it about JavaScript that really got you excited about it?

In Utah when he was working for a company, he had never learned JavaScript; he was told he had to learn jQuery to do browser extensions. The first night he learned jQuery he decided he loved the language. He stuck with it for three to four months. After that, he learned actual JavaScript. He explains that it just “fits in his head,” and made him feel well equipped and powerful.

How do you get to Angular?

He worked for a big, local corporation in Utah with powerful developers. The JavaScript community was strong there. They used Backbone and one day he emailed the developers. He suggested they Angular. One of the developers asked Aaron to help with the conversion. They were writing less code in Angular than in Backbone. It saved time.

Sometime after that, his friend Kip Lawrence suggested that they go to an Angular Conference. When they looked up conferences they couldn’t find any. They decided to start their own Angular conference after that.

How do you become a GDE?

There is a GDE app where you nominate yourself. In order to be picked, you have to meet a lot of criteria. You have to answer a lot of questions. There are things they want you to have done to prove you stand out and are a leader in the community. They want more than someone who is just smart. They want people who have presented at conferences, made open source contributions, written books, etc.

What else have you done in JavaScript or Angular?

One of the very first projects Aaron did is one that he considers one of the coolest. He built a browser extension for his twin brother’s real estate website that solved a captcha. He then marketed it to other people. He believes it is one of the most fun problems to solve.

What are you working on these days?                      

Aaron has a side project, which is a remote communication app for remote workers to use. He is working on how to make the NG-Conf bigger and better each year. He is also spending time being a dad.

Is there an overarching thing you’ve learned over the last 7 or so years of programming?

The thing that keeps recurring is that there is a need for engineers to focus on solving problems for users and less on having perfect code. He has noticed that developers make decisions to try to make perfect code that can sink a company. Developers should be more business focused than tech problems. It is more responsible for making a business profitable. Solve problems for the user first and don’t try to replace a language that’s working.