Development is so much more than solving problems. Just ask Pete Vanderhoef, our Sr. Full Stack Developer, and someone who shows us how to tackle challenges in creative and rewarding ways every day at CID.
Q: How would you describe your role at CID?
A: I'm a senior software developer with a very diverse track record. In my nearly 20 years of development, I've worked on anything from simple content changes to developing full websites, designing automated data import processes, and many other types of projects. Leveraging that history, I've been able to apply a lot of what I know to our current development team.
I try to create solutions with the greater team in mind, hoping they can be reused in the future. I also enjoy improving our development process in general, automating a lot of the day-to-day developer needs so we can focus more on designing and developing better solutions.
Q: What is something that you wish everyone knew about your role, your work, or your team?
A: I've had the privilege to work on a lot of different types of projects and with different technologies. Most of those usually fall in the sphere of web development (which is great!) but sometimes they are adjacent to web dev, presenting me with new challenges I've never had to face before. All of that diverse work helps to keep my day-to-day routine fresh and exciting.
Q: Let’s give our readers a peek behind the curtain. What aspects of our work and/or our culture do you enjoy?
A: Working at CID has been great. Everyone is very helpful, friendly, and inviting! I enjoy seeing the various hobbies that the team has, such as 3D printing, photography, mixology, or even grilling/smoking. We even have a group of pizza connoisseurs. On top of all that, the flexible work structure has been huge for my family and me. What's not to love?
Q: What are some of the most challenging and/or rewarding aspects of development work? How do you and the Dev team at CID approach unique problems?
A: So this might sound a little silly (we joke about it a lot), but one of the most challenging things in development is naming things. Trying to pick names in your project that are intuitive (and ones that can become “Self-explanatory” for your code) can be brutal. If done properly you barely have to jump around the code to see what's going on. If done poorly, you feel like you are looking for a single noodle in a giant bowl of spaghetti — you have no idea where to start!
The most rewarding part of development is being able to build a solution that solves a problem (even better if your solution solves multiple problems!). The more complex the task, the more rewarding it feels to complete it. There isn't anything better than being in the weeds of an issue for days and finally getting that “A-HA!” moment where everything just works.
The way that I like to approach these problems is to first distill them down into several simple problems. Once you have that, it's easier to solve the individual issues and connect them together for a cohesive solution.
Q: Tell us about something that’s been bringing you joy lately.
A: I love spending time with my family. This past summer, we had the opportunity to go on several camping trips. During those trips, we were able to hike a few trails and see what Mother Nature had to offer. I would say the best views were the waterfalls! In addition to traveling together, we also love spending time together by the pool, biking, and at my kids’ sporting/scouting events.
I'm also a huge gamer, of board games first and foremost. I enjoy spending time with friends and family playing games all weekend or just enjoying an occasional one-off. My brothers and I have also taken a stab at developing our own games as well!
Then, there is D&D. When I'm not playing in a campaign, I'm usually designing my own. Thanks to my other hobbies of 3D printing and painting, I can usually crank out some nice visuals for it.
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without hitting on video games. I'll just say that 2023 has been a great year for games. Too many and not enough time!
Q: Who do you draw inspiration from? Do you have any professional mentors or personal heroes you’d like to shout out?
A: Reflecting on my personal and professional growth over the years, a few people come to mind.
On the professional side, many of my peers and mentors from early on in my career have shaped me into the developer I am today. I've learned so many things from them, probably even more than I realize. They have taught me how to deal with complex situations, develop my leadership skills, and how to use the occasional "hotkey."
On the personal side, my wife has shown me how to be a better person and a role model for our children (without her I'd be lost!). My parents have shown me the value of patience and understanding. And finally, there are my brothers, who sparked my interest in science, which ultimately led me down this career path!
Q: What is a mantra, motto, catchphrase, or personal code that motivates and inspires you?
A: “If you have to force it, it's probably not the right way.”
I'm a firm believer that there is more than one way to solve any problem. Some look easy, some look hard, some are right, and some are wrong. If you get stuck, the key is to take a step back and reassess the situation. Don't always look for the easiest or most obvious path, because it might not be the right one.
Want to see how Pete and our web dev team can help you solve problems in creative and innovative ways? Contact CID to get started.