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Marcos Ojeda, Designer, DJ, and Dog Owner

Hi, I'm Marcos Ojeda!

What do you work on?

I work on a mix of frontend web programming and design here at Khan Academy. I often split my time between the two, thinking about how things should work while I think about how they should look. At work I program in JavaScript and Python, primarily. For design work, I use Adobe Illustrator for drawing and robofont when I need to hack on a font.

How did you learn to program?

My older brother showed me how to program on a VIC-20 by having me copy games out of old magazines when I was around six years old. It was incredibly frustrating. I didn't really catch the programming bug until around seventh grade when a Borland C Compiler appeared on our PC. My first significant program came around 9th grade which printed a table of possible combos for Master Locks. That was my first "formal" exposure to modulo arithmetic and for loops.
In high school, around 1998, I briefly programmed and admin'd a text-based online game which sucked away probably a year of my life. A year later, I got into web programming and made a primitive CMS using php3 and mysql by spending most of the fall reading webmonkey articles and experimenting with webpages and online publishing. Going to college, I didn't learn much programming, but I learned lots of theory which has served me well. Even now I'm not a very quick programmer, but I keep learning all the time and I'm always making new things which doesn't hurt.

What do you do when you're not programming?

My dog!
Depending on how busy I am, I love to cook with my wife. When I was in college I worked as a line-cook which made me a very competent cook. I still have a whole bookshelf full of vinyl from when I used to DJ Jungle/Drum & Bass and UK Garage music between 2002-2007.
After college, I went to art school and the most influential class I took there was in Type Design where I learned about drawing an entire typeface. I have drawn, on average, about one font every two years since ~2008. I also have a dog!

What’s your one piece of advice for new programmers?

It sounds silly, but the most important thing for me has been to make things that make me giggle. Recreational programming is something of a luxury, but it has forced me to learn new things and challenged me in ways I didn't expect. Having a friend who can gut-check your work or provide honest feedback on your projects is invaluable, seek them out!

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