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Meet Our Team: Jon Opdahl

JonOpdahl_100Welcome back to the Meet Our Team Q&A series. My name is Daniela Williams, Project Manager at ISE, and I’ll be asking ISE team members questions to help give insight into what makes us tick. 

Today I'm interviewing Jon Opdahl, Software Engineer, and one of our Web App gurus. 

Q. How long have you worked at ISE and what did you do prior?

Jon: I’ve worked at ISE for almost a year. Before ISE, I was at Luther College completing my Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Mathematics. While at Luther, I was an intern for IBM’s Cloud Managed Services as a full-stack developer.

Q. What peaked your interest in web app development?

Jon: started with web development my sophomore year in college by taking the internet programming course at Luther. What I love about developing web apps is the mix of aesthetic considerations and problem solving. It’s one thing to make a water tight system, but it’s a whole other ballgame when you front the system with an enjoyable user experience. Actually producing a visual product is neat because you can actually see your changes. The web has become a huge part of our daily lives, and it’s exciting to be able to produce something that will be seen by other people on a regular basis.

Q. Last month you wrote on the ConFoo conference and CSS-Grid.  Have you had a chance to experiment with CSS-Grid since the conference? Are there any lessons learned?

Jon: I have had a chance to play around with CSS-Grid, but just for my own entertainment as, like I mentioned in the blog post, it isn’t supported by all major browsers. It introduces some new challenges, the main one being a new mental model for laying out a web page. I’m so used to thinking about structuring my webpages in rows or columns, but with CSS-Grid the layout options are so much broader. Restructuring the way I think about web pages and laying them out was a unique challenge I wasn’t expecting, but I am very excited when our browsers catch up to this specification. I think we are going to see some exciting changes in the visual presentation of web applications in the next few years as the grid layout and other CSS-specs gain wider support.

Q: In just a few weeks the ISE Coding Garage kicks off for the summer.  With your experience in Web App Development, what advice do you have for students just starting out with Mobile App Development?

Jon: Web and mobile development are similar in many regards, so for both of these I would advise students to focus on the user experience. You want something that, one - works, two – is efficient, and three – is visually spectacular. The best way to do figure out if you are meeting these criteria, is to ask people’s opinions; what do you think about this layout? What don’t you like about the app? Do you think this animation looks good? I’ve found a lot of what I think is cool or a good design is far from what my users think is good, so being open to feedback and taking your users’ opinions into consideration is important.

Q: What do you do for fun?

Jon: Some of my favorite things to do are to spend time cooking, running, or just simply spending time with my fiancé Jenna. I also like to play baseball, or take in a game on a nice day. I also am a Minnesota sports fan, so that means a hobby of mine is yelling at the television, or shaking my head in disappointment.

Are you interested in learning more about out Mobile and Web App capabilities?  Contact us or join in the conversation below!

Daniela Williams, Project Manager

Daniela Williams, Project Manager

Daniela is a Project Manager at ISE with a bit of dabbling in Marketing. Recently she managed the new website release project and is currently the Scrum Master for the Sales and Marketing team. Daniela enjoys making sure the team accomplishes its goals while having fun along the way. When she’s not herding cats at work, you can find her running around town or getting her hands dirty in the garden.

Daniela Williams, Project Manager

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