In this latest post in our interview series, we’d like to introduce you to our own John Bowser, programmer, nature lover, cat guy.
Name, Company, Title, City
John Bowser, Infinity Interactive, Junior Developer, Salt Lake City, UT
How long have you been at Infinity?
Just over 7 months now.
What are six words you think of when you think of Infinity?
Dedicated, Agile, Multi-Talented, Diverse, Experienced, Supportive
What is one thing you think people might not know about Infinity, but should?
I think Infinity’s focus on its employees is one of the main ingredients to our secret sauce. It’s the reason we get such enthusiastic feedback from our clients, and also one of the reasons you’d be hard pressed to find a tech company with a longer average tenure than us. One of our main goals is to exceed the expectations of the clients that we partner with, and I think the reason we are able to consistently do so is because of Infinity’s investment and trust in its employees.
We’re all lifelong learners and Infinity fosters that shared trait in a variety of ways. This could come in the form of our annual company summit where we are encouraged to give short presentations on technology we’ve worked with, or the careful assignment of projects that allow us to utilize skills we already have while working with something new.
What’s the greatest (or most memorable) piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Be present.” It might have just been because my grandmother was tired of me staring at my phone during family events, but it has helped me tremendously throughout my life. I’ve learned that “being present” has greatly improved my ability to manage stress and anxiety. It has also allowed me to recognize opportunities when they present themselves because I’m not in my own head worrying about things I have no control over, or don’t really matter that much.
What’s an accomplishment - big or small - that you’re particularly proud of?
I recently moved across the country at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not exactly great timing. At the time, I had recently started working as a carpenter because I figured I could move anywhere and do that job. That might have been the case, if there were jobs to be had at the time. What I’m most proud of was the fact that I was able to take a pretty rough situation and find in it the opportunity to pursue a career in programming, something I’ve been interested in since I was a child dreaming about becoming a video game developer.
How did you decide on programming?
I moved to Salt Lake City thinking that I could work construction, but the pandemic was starting and no one was building. I took a job as an overnight stocker, and would listen to podcasts while I worked. One of them prompted me to start researching online curriculum. I started building little personal websites on my computer, but wanted to learn more, so I decided to take the next step and go to coding boot camp.
Dogs or cats? Support your answer.
Cats. Although my answer may be skewed by the fact that my cats act like dogs. They aren’t the typical cat that only does things on their terms. They love being held, sitting on your lap, and taking up more room than they should on the bed at night. Apart from that, as someone who enjoys weekend hiking trips, it is nice knowing that you can leave big bowls of food and water and an extra litter box and the cats will be fine on their own for a few days.
What’s the most unusual job you’ve had?
Corn detasseling. I’m not sure if it is “unusual”, although it probably is in some parts of the country, but it was definitely a hard job. It was a summer job while I was in middle school. It definitely taught me what I didn’t want to do for a living, but also taught me that I can handle just about anything if I have to.
Obviously, we need to know more about corn detasseling. It sounds like pretty impressive work for a middle schooler. Please tell us how this works!
So, corn detasseling. My friend and I did it for a whole summer. My parents thought I’d quit after 3 days, but I finished. There’s this machine with huge tires that stands really high and it has these buckets on it, and we’d go down the corn rows and pull the tassels from the top of the corn and put it in the bucket. A machine goes first, but it misses a lot of the tassels, so we have to get all the tassels it misses. It’s something to do with pollination, so we pulled the tassel from the female plant, I think.
What’s the last book you read and loved?
I’m a big Sci-Fi/Fantasy book nerd. Brandon Sanderson is by far my favorite fantasy writer, and I love pretty much everything he’s ever written. On the Sci-Fi side of things I’ve really enjoyed the Expanse series by James S.A. Corey. Currently I’m reading Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software. It is a really interesting look at a variety of “codes” like Morse Code and Braille and how they relate to how computers work.
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