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Hi, I'm Nick

TL;DR: Programming for 20 years, full stack developer, self taught and self employed as a freelance developer and teacher.


Python / FlaskDocker
Ruby / Ruby on RailsKubernetes
Elixir / PhoenixTerraform
CSS / HTMLAnsible
Shell ScriptingDigitalOcean / AWS

Programming: Self Taught and Hooked on Efficiency

…and I don’t mean runtime efficiency (aka. how fast a program runs)!

I never went to university and I almost flunked high school math but I didn’t let that stop me from becoming a software developer.

I was that kid who rented a video game (back when NES games were rented by “video stores”) and didn’t come out of my room until I beat it, but only after exploring everything in meticulous detail. Every last millimeter of the map uncovered and every monster slain.

I was also super determined to find the most efficient way to do something but that wasn’t limited to just video games. It carried over to learning, sports and every other aspect of life.

There’s just something magical to me in finding not necessarily the “best” way to do something, but figuring out how to do it fast and well. You could say I’m an efficiency freak.

A desire for efficiency is one of the things that eventually got me into programming. I shared a bit of that story when I wrote about how to learn a new programming language quickly.

Business: Operating a Casino in Elementary School

…I guess you could say I had the entrepreneurial spirit at an early age!

I remember when I was 11 years old, I created a slot machine out of a brown lunch bag. Basically, I drew slot machine symbols onto little pieces of paper and put them in the bag. On the front of the bag, I drew out a little chart for the payouts.

My fellow classmates would pay me 25 cents and they picked out 3 pieces of paper. Sometimes they won, sometimes they lost, but as you know, the house always wins.

Needless to say my mom wasn’t very proud of me but it taught a valuable lesson which was life is about choosing your own path and you have permission to do so.

Later on as I grew older, I immediately knew I wasn’t cut out to work for someone else. I tried (and failed) to hold various jobs. I fundamentally disagree with the whole “get a job, work like crazy, make an average living, retire at 65 and enjoy life” routine. I want to enjoy life now.

If I’m going to give it my all, and do my absolute best, then I might as well work for my self.

I really like running my own business because it gives me the freedom to try new things out, and failing is seen as progress instead of something that gets me in trouble. It also forces me to level up non-technical skills, which improves everything as a result.

Nowadays I spend my time learning, programming, creating courses and freelance consulting. If you’re interested, you can read about what tools I use for everything.

Hobbies: Meet My Non-Programming Brain

…I apologize for the mess, I’m always refactoring!

I’m really into music and play the guitar as a hobby. I like a lot of different styles of metal, but for the last couple of years I would say I prefer melodic death metal. I’m not a singer but that doesn’t stop me from trying in my courses.

Speaking of courses. I’ve taken an unexpected liking to video recording and editing. At this point it’s part of my business so I had to learn about it, but it’s really fun putting together everything. It’s almost like programming, but with pictures and audio.

My legs are addicted to walking. I put in a few miles a day with mixed jogging. Other than push ups, that’s how I get most of my exercise. I also use a standing desk.

Other than that I enjoy movies (sci-fi, comedy, fantasy, etc.), martial arts, reading books about ancient philosophers and comedy (Bill Burr and Louis C.K. are my fav comedians).

If you want to read a more detailed interview where I shared my journey all the way from getting my first computer up to freelancing for the last 20 years, check it out in the Gestalt “IT Origins” interview. We also talked about IT trends, caffeine, books and more.

P.S., If you have any questions please email me at nick.janetakis@gmail.com. You can also find me on GitHub, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn if you want to follow along.

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