Hologramers: Frontend Developer Joseph Jung

/ Written By Flavia Logsdon

With the first month behind us and feet firmly planted in February, we are now well into 2017 now and have many exciting things happening at Hologram.  I’m thrilled to continue interviewing and chronicling the many facets of our fascinating team in our behind-the-scenes look at the team behind Hologram.

With Hologramers, readers – and colleagues – learn more about what makes each one of them so terrific.

This week, I sat down with Frontend Developer Joseph Jung.

joseph-head-shot

The 31-year old Kansas native obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in ESL and is a self-taught software developer.

Before joining Hologram in 2016, Joseph also worked at VividSeats, Isobar, and Wall Street English.  Now a Chicago resident like most of our team, Joseph is a Cancer, born on French Independence Day in the year of the Ox. Oh, and his favorite color is turquoise.

My interview with Joseph was the first interview I did with someone that I hadn’t worked with closely. Regardless, it only took about thirty seconds for both Joseph and I to be completely at ease and we found ourselves chatting like old friends.

As genial as he is passionate, Joseph has the rare combination of technical aptitude and excellent articulation — not only can he do the work, he can also explain it so that a layman such as myself really understands what’s going on.

Easy-going and happy, Joseph is charmingly good-humored, and his interview is full to the brim with his personality.

About Hologram

Tell me a little bit about what you do at Hologram.

I am a front end developer and my primary task is to make sure that the dashboard/device management portal is the best it can be. Occasionally I jump over to the main site.

What is Dashboard?

So, it’s a web application that manages your devices and SIM cards on a nice interface.  You can see usage, configure your cloud settings, add tags for organization, pause, resume devices and much more.

What are some unique challenges you’ve had in your work here at Hologram?

The challenge has been making sure that all of the features that we design and want to put into our website are managed in such a way that the user has a good experience with them.  This is not easy because we have so much to offer in terms of products – and we’re adding more all the time.

What’s something interesting you’ll be working on in 2017?

I’m really excited about launching a public Node API that will absolutely rock.

Thinking about the work culture at Hologram, what is something that you enjoy?

I really enjoy the team here. We’re getting a ton of stuff done every day and enjoying it a lot.  The atmosphere is relaxed and everyone has their own responsibilities and I think that’s because we all trust each other.

All together, we have a very wide range of skills which is needed in our company because we have such diverse public offerings, ranging from the lowest level hardware to the highest level web applications.  We have to cover all of it, and we do cover it all.  It’s all very impressive.

You’re a self-taught software development. What motivated you to study that?

The reason I enjoy programming is because I like playing games and I wanted to make my own as a child.  As an adult, I got a degree in ESL and went to China to teach adult business English for two years, and managed a school in China as well for a year and a half.

My brother was already in China, and it was a good place to practice my degree.  We were in a city named Shenzhen, close to Hong Kong.

joseph-on-stairs

I loved teaching, but then a friend wanted help making a website for his startup English school, and I was noticing that the managing gig would only last so long.  So I went back to my old hobby of programming, and started studying day and night.

It was so refreshing to get back to it.  I went to part-time teaching and focused mainly on getting caught up.  I did Java and HTML5 techs, but loved Javascript due to the fact that I could refresh the browser and get quick feedback.

Also Node was just coming out, which turned out to be a lot of fun.

What and what if…

If you could master one skill you don’t have right now, what would it be?

Um, answering interview questions… but anyway, let’s see…for real?  I want to be the best ping pong player in the world, a better guitar player, and a more well-rounded computer programmer.

What fictional character do you associate the most with and why?

Probably Michael Scott, the boss from The Office, played by Steve Carrell.  I enjoy that character because he’s creating an environment that is fun and lightheartedness, even though he’s doing a lot of offensive stuff, haha.

What’s your favorite genre of book and why?

I really enjoy autobiographies because, for true enjoyment, I like to know that what I’m reading is real.  I prefer autobiographies over biographies, because you get more personality coming out through the book.

For example, in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, you can feel him in it.  I think you really get to know a person through their own choice of words.

If you didn’t have to work, if you had more than enough money to live off of well into your old age, what would you be doing with your time?

I’d probably be doing the same thing I’m doing now.  I just really enjoy programming.

What’s your spirit animal?

I had a feeling this was one of the questions.  Apparently based on the online quiz I took right before this call, I’m a fox.  Feel free to extrapolate to your heart’s content what that means.

What’s your dream car?

Probably a white Camaro, like an old one, you know.  American muscle, like an 80s Camaro.

What was your favorite trip? 

It was a small village in the mountains in China.  It’s called Yangshuo and the reason it is such a nice place to visit is due to the nature of the landscape there.  They have a certain type of mountain called karst mountains.  *laughs*  No, not cursed!  A lot of people think that it’s cursed mountains, but it’s actually karst: k-a-r-s-t.  The name refers to a certain type of mountain that has eroded over time, so the side of it has become very steep.  They’re not very high, but they stick up in a strange way and they’re really fun to look at.

joseph-in-china
Joseph in Yangshuo with Karst Mountains in the background

There are rivers running between them and it’s super relaxing.  It’s fun to hike up these mountains, because there are little trails going up to the tops of them and it’s a great place for quiet and meditation.  There’s also a small village that is kind of a tourist village, and it has a lot of bars and stuff and a lot of music going on.  It’s this little hub of activity surrounded by all this beautiful scenery.

You can rent a scooter and go driving around the mountains and visit these villages that haven’t changed in hundreds of years.  I got to know a strawberry farmer and his family, and we often played guitar together.

All about Joseph

Tell me a little bit about your hobbies and what you do with your free time.

I play a lot of ping pong actually.  I play it three times a week with a group from church.  Also, I enjoy all types of music.  I play acoustic guitar and some other instruments as well and I have jam sessions with friends.  Mostly it’s bluegrass-y type music, and recently I’ve been learning flatpicking.

Sounds like we need to start our very own Hologram band!  You on acoustic and  Pat Hogan on bass!  

Speaking of Pat, the next question comes from him: What was the last text message you sent, no cheating.

I’ve gotta pull out my phone here to look.  It says… oh boy.  It says: “Give me my money.”  No, I’m joking!  It actually says “hey babe yeah, I snuck out around 9:30, didn’t want to wake you up.”  No one actually owes me any money.

Unfortunately, I didn’t choose a career path that exciting.

You just had a daughter last year, so you know what I’m going to ask you now.  Give me your best dad joke.

If your child says, “Hey, I was thinking…,” then you should say “I thought I smelled something burning.”  Oh… I have another one.  What is Beethoven’s favorite fruit?  Ba-na-na-naaaa!

joseph-with-elisa
Joseph with his daughter Elisa

What’s a quirk or a pet peeve that you have that most people don’t know about?

When I was teaching in China, one of my filler words was to say “alright, ok” a lot.   I did not know I had an issue with it so often until my students made a big deal out of it.  Every time I said it, they would say it back and it finally broke me of it.  As far as pet peeves, I don’t really have any that I can really think of so… my pet peeve is people having pet peeves.  Some people just get really annoyed about a lot of little things and they really don’t need to be.  Annoyed people are annoying.

Tell me a secret about yourself that your co-workers might not know. 

I have been trying to learn Chinese for years, but I’m still at the level of a 2 year old.

Now you have to pick the next interviewee, and give me an amazing question to ask them.

Have you talked to Ryan yet?  You should interview him.  And I would like to ask him: “What thought goes through your mind when looking up at the stars on a dark night?”


Want more behind-the-scenes stories?
Check out our collection of staff interviews in our Hologramer series.