Posted

Wiggle Workers SPOTLIGHT with Chris Dolphin

Two long, brightly colored squiggly lines with the words Wiggle Workers SPOTLIGHT under them

This is the fourth post in a series highlighting part-time remote job seekers within the tech industry. We ask guests a bit about what they are looking for and their remote working routine. Our goal here is to connect job seekers with each other as well as get the word out to employers that they are available.

For this post we virtually sat down with developer Chris Dolphin.

Chris Dolphin

Could you tell us a bit about your professional background and what type of position are you looking for now?

During my first few years in college, unrelated to my coursework, I taught myself graphic design and web development. After a few part-time positions I was able to get an internship at Grooveshark, a popular music streaming service that sprung out of Gainesville. I joined their team as a full-time developer and learned a great deal, such as how to use Git effectively, how to scale a large codebase for millions of users, and how to design for users that hate change. The experience was invaluable, and I parlayed this knowledge into a position at another popular media site, Plex.

Plex is where I learned how to work with a team of expert developers remotely. Being my first entirely remote position, I had trouble breaking into the conversation with my team and suffered considerably from impostor syndrome. At the time, the complexity of traditional large-scale JavaScript apps made it a struggle for newcomers to familiarize themselves. With the development and popularization of React, however, it has become tremendously easier to understand a new codebase.

That experience with remote work allowed me to craft an entirely remote team on my own at my next position as product team lead at Peerfit, a studio fitness service. My role there grew as I was able to put more of myself and my best practices into the codebase. I also had success individually recruiting and onboarding each member of the product team. After crafting the team and re-architecting the product, I was able to confidently step away as lead and allow the group to flourish on its own.

Since then I’ve been using the service CodeMentor to share my knowledge as an expert, helping people navigate the complex field of web development. I spend a lot of time on personal projects extending my knowledge of my preferred frameworks, languages, and platforms: React, React Native, Redux, Webpack, Electron, Chromecast, and a combination of modern HTML5 and CSS3 polish.

I’ve also spent my entire career teaching myself game design. Other than considering different aspects of user experience, I haven’t been able to really apply that skill set professionally. In future positions I’d like to apply these game design and development skills more directly.

What is one of your professional accomplishments you are most proud of?

Building a self-sustaining product team at Peerfit is one of my proudest accomplishments. Coordinating, educating, and facilitating individuals to create a service that was a stable part of the industry is definitely one of my points of pride.

On a smaller scale, in terms of user experience, capturing a feeling or communicating an emotion are big accomplishments for me. I find it exciting that a blank text file can be built into something that can make someone giddy with excitement. A combination of sounds, animations, and color can create a powerful artistic illusion, and I’m proud I know how to harness that.

What topics are you looking to learn more about in your next role; in what area would you like to grow?

I’d like to get more experience in 3D development. I’ve been exploring more how Blender and the web can work together. I’m also very interested in applying my React and Redux skills towards game development. A-Frame already makes it easy to access WebGL with React, and I believe React has a place in the future of native and mobile game development. It’s a pretty small kniche now, but its prevalence should grow as the market trusts and adopts React Native.

Technologies like Coherent UI and WebVR will bridge the gap between web and AAA games. This is something I’m looking forward to being a part of, as the industry broadens.

How long have you worked remotely? Do you have any tricks or tips regarding working remotely?

My time at Plex 3 years ago quickly taught me how to manage and coordinate remotely and since then every professional position I’ve had has been remote.

I manage my projects with Git, GitHub, and GitLab, which enable a considerable amount of flexibility and access. This along with Slack, Trello, Discord, Stack Overflow and a few other issue tracking services, have made remote productivity an ease.

As far as tips: as an individual, be aware of imposter syndrome, burnout, and other aspects of your mental health. This means different things for different people.

As a team, try to regularly incorporate voice chat into group communications. You’d be surprised how many assumptions each member brings to a conversation and how much gets lost or miscommunicated through text.

What do you do to make working remotely comfortable?

I have a dog who greatly enjoys the extra time we get to spent together. He also gets me out of the house and into the sun multiple times a day. This helps me appreciate wherever I’m living at the time.

I highly recommend getting a wireless over-ear headset. This makes it incredibly easy to stay in a conversation when you need to step away from your desk. No stress of tripping over wires or missing part of the conversation when you run to get the door either.

What is the best way for employers to see your work and get in touch?

The best way to see what I’m up to is by checking out my GitHub and Twitter accounts. Contact me by email at dolphin@likethemammal.com.


Thank you so much for chatting with us Chris!

The Wiggliest Newsletter

Receive emails featuring the latest jobs, tips from the blog, and more.