Why I Code: John Himics - Technical.ly Delaware

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Jan. 21, 2015 11:19 am

Why I Code: John Himics

The DuPont mechanical engineer and cofounder of dev shop First Ascent Design comes from a long line of programmers — starting with his grandmother.

John Himics first started programming with his dad.

(Courtesy photo)

From a young age, John Himics knew that he wanted to immerse himself in everything involving technology, numbers and design. As a child, his father (who is currently an AT&T programmer specializing in Linux systems and deployments) would drill math problems with him in the time it took his mother and sister to finish a shopping spree.

When Himics was in fifth grade, his father introduced him to coding, which later led to a curiosity about Java. Now, Himics and his father indulge their inner geek by working with Raspberry Pi computers and Arduino micro-controllers.

"Coding allows me the most freedom to explore and build websites and applications that can have a large impact on the world."
John Himics

Himics’ grandmother is also a former programmer who started her own web design and development company.

With that impressive lineage of coding prowess, Himics was no stranger to computer programming. He began his coding journey by freelancing with a mentor.

“Once I graduated college, I signed up for a freelancing site and began taking assignments,” Himics told Technical.ly Delaware. “I built Python command-line tools and VBA macros for Excel and Word. My first ‘true’ project started when someone from the freelancing site, who I had built python scripts for, asked if I could build a JavaScript-based app.”

Another one of Himics’ freelancing projects was a JqTree and Backbone.js-based user interface intended for categorizing products for sale on ecommerce sites. He says his natural enthusiasm for programming made freelancing fun, but the work was still incredibly challenging.

“The process was long and iterative, especially since I was learning as I went,” Himics said. “I’d typically sketch out the goal, sketch out the code structure I thought would accomplish that goal, build it and then improve it. It was a great experience and it showed me that the tech community can be very supportive of each other. Since then, I’ve continued polishing my skills.”

Outside of working as a mechanical engineer for DuPont, Himics recently cofounded the web dev firm First Ascent Design with his fiancé, Pauline Rubin (Pauline was featured on our site back in September). Together, they help companies create a stellar first impression via eye-catching and easy-to-use online interfaces.

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Himics is an active member of the Loft in Wilmington, where he and Rubin participated in and helped win Delaware’s Global Startup Battle.

His love for coding ultimately stems from the same place it did when he was young: tinkering.

“No project is ever ‘finished.’ Instead, I look for the next step in everything I work on,” Himics said. “Coding allows me the most freedom to explore and build websites and applications that can have a large impact on the world. I can build a product, a business, a solution with only a laptop and applied knowledge.”

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