Looking to learn more about our instructors? Check out Nick Kraftor, one of our Java instructors for the June 13th cohort!
- Name: Nick Kraftor
- Class/Cohort: Java 061315
- Education: BA in Physics with an emphasis in Observational Astronomy, UMSL
- Current Day Job: Mobile Application developer at Enterprise Holdings, Inc.
- Programming professionally since...: 2012
- Email: email@example.com
- Twitter: @kraftmatic
What projects are you working on now at your "day job"?
Nick: I am part of Enterprise's Mobility Development department on a team that specializes in Android and iOS application development. Our current application suite we are working on aims to completely replace the car rental and return procedure using a combination of tablets, mobile payment and printing solutions, and telemetric data taken from both cars and mobile cameras. We also develop and support web-based data applications that allow stationary users to access and amend any data that was collected from a mobile source. Currently we are working with a selection of European countries to personalize our software solutions in a way that they are compliant with their local laws and standards.
What personal projects are you working on right now?
Nick: As a part of my own continual learning process I've started a personal website utilizing a variety of technologies including a personal Jenkins continuous integration system, a variety of Java-based frameworks, and I have it hosted on a Raspberry Pi that is sitting in my office.
Outside of this I am also leading a group of amateur game developers who are focusing on learning 6502 Assembly and C programming to allow us to develop Atari, Commodore, and NES games.
What's your favorite project that you've ever worked on?
Nick: Our projects have been so rapid-fire that it is hard to pick a favorite one. One of the most interesting initiatives has been creating an application concurrently on Android, iOS, and a Spring-powered web version which all rely on common services. Many people (including myself) were new to the world of mobile development so we had to find our feet rather quickly to start making solid contributions to the project.
What got you into programming to begin with? What was that spark that made you say "I want to be a programmer"?
Nick: My very first programming experience was on the Commodore 64. There were a series of Sci-Fi books that were published that contained software code at the very end. The idea was you got to read a story, then would enter the code into the computer which when run would let you play a game based on the story.
Later in high school I got into niche programming by creating both BASIC and ASM-based TI-85 programs including a snazzy visual unit-circle program that was used by the math department for many years following.
Through college my focuses turned towards science (especially physics) but I still found myself gravitating towards the computer-side of things as I got involved with a project that required writing IDL scripts to help process data. After a while I found that I was enjoying the coding aspect of it more than the science itself.
In your opinion, what's the most exciting thing happening in the world of .NET right now?
Nick: One of the things I am most excited to see is just how prevalent the Java Virtual Machine is becoming due to the surge of programming languages outside of Java. We now have many languages that offer a different set of programming tools to developers such as Clojure, Groovy, and Scala. There are even languages that allow you to program on a familiar platform and execute through the JVM such as Jython and JRuby
If you could hang out with anyone from the tech world (alive or dead), who would it be and why?
Nick: I would love to have had the opportunity to meet Hedy Lamarr who was not only a dynamo in the world of Hollywood, but was an accomplished inventor whose anti-torpedo technology developed to help the Allies in WW2 is still used today in the forms of Bluetooth and CDMA technology. Honestly I can't think of a reason not to want to meet her.
What's your favorite thing to do besides programming and teaching class?
Nick: I have a variety of hobbies that range from amateur astronomy (with my 8 inch Dobsonian telescope) to collecting vintage video game consoles (at last count I am at 32 if you include handhelds). Lately I've been playing guitar as I find it a great way to unwind after a hectic day of work and spending time with my wife and 3 children.