Paul has been working for Brightspot since January 2016.
This week, Rose went on the record with Paul Easterbrooks, a developer at Brightspot who has been with the company for almost two years. Since joining Brightspot, Paul has contributed to a variety of projects including MasterCard, Johnson & Johnson and Healthgrades. During the conversation, Paul spoke about what led him to Brightspot, his love for motorsports and his experience traveling with his colleagues to Europe for the Special Olympics.
You came to Brightspot after graduating from JMU in 2015. What brought you here?
I met Parker at a career fair on campus. When I was at JMU, I worked at a small web development firm and wanted to continue to build my web development skills. I talked to Parker about Brightspot and it seemed like an awesome fit. I came for an interview and here I am!
What is the current project you're working on and what is your role?
I am currently working on MasterCard with Axel. I am interfacing with MasterCard's developers to help them build a Brightspot instance specific to their business.
In the nearly 2 years you've been working for Brightspot you've worked on projects for MasterCard, Johnson & Johnson, and Healthgrades. How do you feel your skills as a developer have grown in that time?
Working on all of those projects has broadened my skills. When I was working Healthgrades, I was doing all front end work. Johnson & Johnson's Content Lab was awesome exposure because I saw the product from the ground up, focusing primarily on the back end. Now I am working back end for MasterCard and continuing to work on a range of things, expanding my knowledge of Brightspot. My experience at Brightspot has been exactly what I wanted, gaining full stack exposure.
Since you came to Brightspot directly from college, what piece of advice would you give to a recent graduate preparing to start his/her career?
Document everything. Your thought process when writing code is not necessarily going to be interpreted correctly by other people. Whenever you think something through, provide an easy-to-understand description of how and why it works. This will help everyone that interacts with your code.
What was it like being a bus driver for the City of Harrisonburg for 3 years? I assume you must have a few good stories!
Being a bus driver was awesome! It was the best gig I could have asked for in college. It paid well and had flexible hours. I worked every shift imaginable from late nights to early mornings and it was a lot of fun. I wish I could still do it!
You are also an avid motorsports fan. How did you first get interested in driving motorcycles?
At JMU, there is a club called Madison Motors. They do everything from showing cars to taking people out to the track. There are also a lot of alumni who have built cars to race. My experience was going out on the track with these alumni. I was instantly hooked and soon after got more into motorcycles than I could have imagined.
In March, you traveled to Austria with 10 of our Brightspot employees to volunteer for the Special Olympics World Games. What did you learn from that experience?
It was a super incredible experience. Austria was awesome! I had never been exposed to Special Olympics and its events on that scale. Seeing everybody from around the world come together on that stage was incredible and inspiring.
Besides the people, what's your favorite part about working at Brightspot?
Definitely the work. We have really cool projects. Personally, I wanted to work for a small company because it gives you an edge where you can say, "I want to do this," and ask on to work on a specific project. We are not limited by any red tape. If you want to do something, you can...it's awesome.
What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outsides of the office?
As mentioned, I love motorsports. I am also finishing up my private pilot's license so I'll be flying a lot soon. I enjoy working on cars and hanging out with my fiancé.
What was the last concert you attended? Did any songs stand out?
I saw Third Eye Blind in Silver Spring. They played some new stuff and some of their old hits. It was great to see them live.