Dev of the Week: Scott Westfall
Thanks for talking to us! What have you been working on lately?
Having just joined DZone, I've been getting to know our products, our team, and our tools. There's so much to learn, but that's what makes it exciting!
You're the new Director of Engineering at DZone, which includes management responsibilities. What is it like, as a developer, adjusting to a management role?
I've been working as a development manager for 13 years. It can be a difficult transition. The biggest shift is that you are working to solve human issues rather than technology issues. Working as a programmer, you can run the debugger, set some breakpoints, and figure out what's broken. They haven't built that kind of tool for people yet.
Are there any particular developer tools or resources you couldn't live without?
As a developer, I'm always dependent on the big three: my editor, my diff tool, and my source control system. Writing anything without a great tool for each of those is just painful. Having previously worked at SlickEdit, their editor and diff are by far my favorites. I'm equally unhappy with all source control systems and look forward to the day when I can write one of my own.
Do you have a favorite open source project (or projects) that you've contributed to recently?
I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't contributed to open source. My heart and soul goes into each product and company I have worked for. When I'm not working, I look for non-coding activities like playing guitar or saxophone.
Do you follow any blogs or Twitter feeds that you would recommend to developers?
I like to read "Joel on Software" by Joel Spolsky. While many other blogs are more about the technology, Joel writes a lot about the business of software development. As a manager, that's my role and my passion.
Did you have a coding first love -- a particular program, gadget, game, or language that set you on the path to life as a developer?
I got into programming back in the early '80s when personal computers were first coming out. This made computers accessible to people who would never have otherwise had access. I think that revolution fueled a generation of programmers. I love how computers have changed our personal lives!
Anything else you'd like to mention?
As both a programmer and a manager, I believe it's our passions that define us. I'm lucky to work in a field and for a company that truly set me on fire. I hope everyone has a chance to feel that in their life. Everyday, you should find something to get excited about and make that day count!