Last week, we hosted our first ever Technical.ly Delaware AMA (Ask Me Anything) on our public Slack with David Ginzberg, instructor at Zip Code Wilmington and cofounder at Open Data Delaware. We learned a lot about him. For example, apparently Ginzberg got into code because of Neopets, a trend that gained steam about a decade and a half ago, which a few loyalists have recently tried to revive. Ginzberg got his start with open data when he was living in Chicago and he brought everything he learned with him when he came back to the First State.
When Ginzberg started coding with Neopets, it wasn’t to build complex programs, it was to design his character. “If you wanted it to look cool you’d have to write HTML to do that, or steal the code from someone else’s store (which I did, and then started breaking it and seeing what I could change),” he explained.
After he got his first taste, he messed with a program on TI-83 calculator in middle school where he rigged it to change the rules. That’s when he delved into basics of computer programming. Then he took on backend languages Java and C++, which led him to Python and LISP (List Processing), which were his two favorite languages in college.
Zip Code Wilmington is also Ginzberg’s first teaching job. He enjoys it because it helps him look at code from different perspectives, which keeps his outlook fresh. “Actually formally teaching programming was a totally new experience and frankly kinda terrifying when I first started,” he recalled.
After a year on the job, he seems like he’s handling it quite well while making time for his passion project, Open Data Delaware, which experienced a lot of success this year with the state’s open data portal launch.
Ginzberg actually attended Code for Philly meetups as well before creating the meetup in Delaware with cofounder Ryan Harrington. “We saw enough connections in what we both wanted to do that we joined forces and started the Open Data Delaware meetup. We weren’t sure there would be an audience but we dove in and the audience has slowly grown — I say slowly but it’s been much faster than either of us would’ve originally expected,” recalled Ginzberg.
Even though the scene grew quickly, it’s still young and has a long way to go. Momentum was an issue, he’d like to see that grow.
Interested in getting involved with Open Data Delaware or attending Zip Code Wilmington? You’ll probably run into Ginzberg, so be sure to say hi.