I'm Landon. I am a full stack developer at General Motors in Austin, Texas. As a student, industry intern, independent developer co-bootstrapping a small startup, and now full time Software Engineer, I have had opportunities to work on some great applications with some great teams. I have also been able to extend my love for programming into other arenas dear to me, such as fiction and poetry writing and education. I am always looking for opportunities to contribute to exciting projects, products, or research endeavors that make the world a better place or are otherwise cool.
LitRagger is a project I co-founded with Adam Lefton, the then Managing Editor of Purdue's literary journal, after we realized the struggle most small-press literary magazines had at the time getting their content mobile in a eye pleasing format. The Guardian picked LitRagger as one of the best new apps the week of our launch. As HTML5 adoption grew and these challenges became less of a barrier, we've transitioned to new projects including an app to help writers manager their current submissions and a website that aggregates great literary content from across the web.
My job as a Student Web and Mobile App Developer for Purdue Studio allowed me to work with an amazing and particularly detail oriented team of talented developers and designers. The Studio suite of apps are built to help facilitate collegiate learning, in and out of the classroom. Here, I learned some of my first lessons in software and database design patterns, version control principles, and agile project management. I have been allowed to lead develop two .NET projects this year; a total rewrite of the Purdue Directory to a .NET C# that included a custom search algorithm, and a new app to showcase how the Studio apps help instructors achieve the different learning objectives of Bloom's Taxonomy. Studio’s apps are beautiful and well designed for user experience, and I learned in this role to code with the design team in mind.
Summer 2013 I had the amazing opportunity to intern with Amazon in Seattle, WA, which I am convinced is the best city in the world. I worked on the Amazon Instant Video team interning as a Software Development Engineer in Test. My specific project was to incorporate various third party testing into the encoding pipeline and develop a way to verify and compare results. The experience of being in a top-tier industry enviroment was one that has raised the bar on my expectations for the code I produce. I recommend applying for Amazon's internship program if you are a student looking for high-level high-stakes industry experience.
LitRagger taught me a lot about mobile app design, start up funding, bug-reporting and handling, and sprint planning. However, LitRagger exists because of Adam's and my shared love for writing and the world of writing. Through my friends in the Purdue MFA program and some great people I've met through LitRagger, I've gained a deeper connection to the literary world, and, out of the goodness of their hearts, a reader or two for my occasional stories and essays. I am also do some web development work for a great literary magazine here in Austin, American Short Fiction.
Growing up in rural East Texas I was lucky. I was able to take many honors courses and had some amazing teachers. That said, as a nontraditional student returning to Purdue for a computer science degree, I was critically unprepared for the advanced match and science courses required. Preparedness for higher education and top careers is important, but the ability to think analytically and scientifically is what students without exposure to advanced STEM courses miss out on the most. I’ve linked some organizations and some resources I utilized on entering Purdue. In the future, I’d like to work to address this issue more directly, possibly putting my teaching degree to use in the classroom or finding or founding volunteer organizations.
I love linguistics, and chose it for my minor at Purdue, because it finds its way into so many of my other interest. Computational linguistics and natural language programming are major areas of research in my degree concentration, machine intelligence. I’ve also always been interested in language acquisition and learning from my experience teaching English language learners in the classroom and as a private tutor. The systems analysis and logic of semioticians like Charles Sanders Peirce is incredibly interesting and always gets me wondering about the ‘big’ questions of math, science, and philosophy in a way that sometimes day to day programming lets me forget.