Jason joined Accelebrate as a contract instructor in 2005. Then, in 2012, we were fortunate enough to have him join Accelebrate full time with an additional role of Director of Technology.
For the entire video interview, please visit https://youtu.be/Ki8_V3_TB_I
Accelebrate: Tell us more about yourself.
Jason: To give a general overview, I started programming at 8 or 9 years old. I did 8 years with the U.S. Air Force doing a variety of different things, which included computer programming. I've been training since 2002.
Accelebrate: What kind of trainings have you been focused on?
Jason: Mostly Microsoft — Back around 2000 I wasn't sure where things were going to go, so for several years I ended up picking up things with Java and .NET, and then did quite a bit of development on the Apple side. But recently my focus has been primarily around Microsoft's web services.
Accelebrate: You've published on the iOS platform, right?
Jason: When .NET first came out, I co-authored 5 or 6 books on that, and also wrote some material for Microsoft's MSDN magazine. When it comes to the Apple side, I published apps in the App Store.
Accelebrate: How did you get into programming?
Jason: Originally, it was back when my dad brought back a Texas Instruments TI994A with 16K of RAM. That was back in the day where in order to make a machine do anything, you had to write code. So that was just a matter of figuring out how to make it do interesting things. Then I picked up some more in high school, and then eventually went on to the Air Force.
Accelebrate: Could you tell us a little more about .NET technology? What should we know about these days?
Jason: Lately the most interesting thing has been the move toward open source and cross-platform, which is new for Microsoft. With ASP.NET Core, and .NET Core people are running Microsoft on Linux. We even have SQL Server for Linux so it's a whole new world!
Accelebrate: You're training and on the road all the time… How do you stay up to date?
Jason: I probably spend 6 or 7 hours a week just keeping up on what's going on. Things move really, really fast! I have a collection of blog sites - mostly the people who build the stuff at Microsoft - that I read via an RSS aggregator. Usually I really like to focus on the information from the folks who actually work with the technology, build it, put it together, because that tends to be the best and most accurate information.
Accelebrate: Do you have any favorite blogs?
Jason: Either the Microsoft places like channel9.msdn.com or Live ASP.NET where developers for Microsoft have a weekly meeting standup. I also follow a couple of the mainstream blogs like WIRED and TechCrunch.
Accelebrate: What's your favorite part about being a technical trainer?
Jason: Recently, it's been being closer to what folks are actually doing. For several years I taught for a training company where everything was in the classroom, doing the same script every week. What I've been doing the last several years is much more interesting, because you actually go to peoples' organizations and see what they are working on. One of the things that is most interesting is seeing the difference between a place where they are just building, say, e-commerce sites, versus an organization where if people make mistakes in the code, lives are at stake! It's still writing code, but depending on the problem it's solving, approaches can be very different.
Accelebrate: Do you have any frequently asked questions in your Microsoft or .NET courses?
Jason: Sometimes it's just as you said, "how do you keep up with everything?" That tends to be a very popular issue now as things move so fast. Other questions are so specific to the technologies, things like "what's the difference between .NET full framework and .NET Core", or other common stumbling points.
Accelebrate: Is there any anything .NET developers should avoid?
Jason: Often when people put information out on the web, such as blog articles or tutorials, they tend to focus on how to build apps with the least lines of code possible because it looks impressive. A lot of times though, that's not the best way to do it. So, folks get themselves into trouble because they build something very quickly, and then it's hard to maintain or it's hard to modify later.
Accelebrate: Do you have any advice for children or teenagers looking to get into the tech industry?
Jason: Pursue what's interesting! Some people go into computer science to make lots of money, and a lot of times that doesn't go very well because it's hard to stay motivated. But if you're figuring out a way to make your Wii remote control your R/C car, or anything else that is fun for you, the other stuff will come later.
Accelebrate: What do you like to do outside of work?
Jason: In high school and the Air Force I was a runner, but as I've gotten a little older, I've gotten pretty serious with cycling. Also, I'm a big aviation guy, so I have my pilot's license and try to stay involved there.
Accelebrate: Do you have any favorite place to travel?
Jason: Fortunately, I've gotten to travel a little bit for work, I went to the Cayman Islands, did the Netherlands, did Ireland, those are all nice places to be. Probably one of my favorites was spending time on an island in Australia. That was pretty cool!
Accelebrate: Is there anything else our viewers should know about you?
Jason: TOne thing I believe in for all instructors, is that you shouldn't just teach full time because you tend to lose touch with what real problems look like. I like to spend time actually building things, and then I share that with students — That's a good thing for all instructors, I think.
Accelebrate: Thank you so much for your time, Jason. It was great talking with you.
Jason: Thank you, Julie.
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