It’s time once again for another Learner Success Story! Today, we’re speaking with Juan Manjarrés, a Full-Stack Developer with over 25 years experience in IT.
Thanks for joining us, Juan! To start, we want to ask, as someone with 25+ years of experience, what got you into the IT field and programming?
Video games, and sci-fi. 🙂 Playing video games for hours… and too many TV shows and movies showing hackers and futuristic stories.
My brother liked electronics and one day introduced me to a programmer. He showed me a computer, and I remember we followed a book manual for DBASE III+ to create simple “database” files. I liked it a lot, and some months after that I started to study programming.
You’ve obviously worked on a lot of projects – including web applications as a Full-Stack Developer. What can you tell us about the sorts of web apps you’ve created as a professional developer?
Well, I created and/or participated in the development of web applications for logistic chain workflows, big trucks and cargo locations, container locations, academic software to let teachers evaluate their students, electoral (political campaign) web applications, and different Content Management Systems.
Also, I created different applications for financial services – including banking systems.
Over the course of your career, have there been any interesting challenges or changes you’ve faced that altered how you think about web development or IT in general?
Yes, when I saw some basic mobile apps (using WAP), I remember thinking how cool it would be to access a web application – or at least to see a web page from my mobile. Of course, I did not imagine how nowadays, not only are more people visiting the internet and using web applications (hybrid and/or native), but they’re depending on them. In fact, more people are choosing mobile phones over computers to complete tasks.
Other things like licensing models, especially free and open-source software, and things like Microsoft investing and collaborating with Apple… those kinds of things have made me expand my horizons and be more and more convinced the only secure thing out there is change. You need to be prepared and adapt yourself to changes to be successful in your career.
You know, when I started to learn about computing and programming, I had no mouse, no undo command in the applications, and monitors were only green or amber – so I needed to adapt myself and be a fast learner to stay relevant.
You also have a passion for art and animation – which has driven you to expand your skills with game and multimedia tools. In what ways has your previous experience helped as you learn about new 2D & 3D techniques?
Each generation is different from the previous one, but I think the new generation is more exposed to info and different media types than the previous one. The time you can get a child focused on a specific task seems to be less and less for each generation. My generation probably enjoyed 2D a lot, but current ones expect more.
3D is more engaging (despite the fact everything around us like chairs, walls, houses, etc. is 3D), but I think it is not as massive industry-wise as it could be. It is worthwhile to learn about it to contribute and make it more massive for new (and old) audiences. It is also worthwhile to see what other unseen or not-so-popular uses you may find – especially for education, marketing, and entertainment.
We’re glad to know that Zenva’s courses have found a place in your education as you pursue this new path. Can you tell us what drew you to the courses at Zenva?
I have seen tutorials from different sources, and I even took in-person lessons for 3d modeling in the past. However, when I saw the broad list of content and topics Zenva has, especially for game programming, 3D, AR, VR, and using different tools, I decided to go for it. Who else could you give you professional training in the most used tools in the market at the same time, and with the same content provider?
Maybe I’m wrong, but I think Zenva’s Mini-Degrees are unique, and they are structured in a way to promote learning – not just following some steps to do a task following a tutorial. I am talking about a comprehensive and structured way to improve yourself in the knowledge area you choose.
We appreciate the kind words! At the moment, what goals do you have for your multimedia projects or career?
I am looking for game and multimedia courses, tutorials on 2D and 3D techniques, and tools to try to create something more visually appealing. Also, I’m looking for a tool I can use to produce projects faster and better.
Currently, I’m doing a video project (in Spanish), but I would like to create it with better quality and (probably) using 3d techniques, with which I can mix and create short games also.
Time is just about up, so we’d like to end things with one last question. Juan, what advice or tips do you have for other developers – especially those who want to pursue it professionally?
First, try to find a hobby (or something programming-related) where you can use IT. This way, even in your free time you will be involved and learning about news or recent facts that will help you to keep updated.
Second, don’t think your current knowledge will last forever, as technology changes every day faster and faster.
I remember a photo of a cameraman filming from a helicopter. Ten years after the photo, the helicopter pilot and the cameraman possibly lost their jobs, because now both things can be made from the ground using a drone with a camera.
I wish I could learn as fast as Neo (Keanu Reeves in the Matrix), and just say, “I know Kung Fu.” In the meantime, I need to keep learning and practicing one lesson at a time. 🙂
That concludes our Learner Success Story, and we want to send a last thank you to Juan for all the amazing insights!