“I heard a story about Edison as a child, and decided I wanted to be an inventor – that was the word I used,” says Jon Hines, senior developer at Dash, remembering his early career aspirations. “I later found out ‘engineer’ was a much more common job title, so I went off to get a degree in mechanical engineering.”
And that degree was followed by a master’s in the same subject. Even with a very clear career path in mind, Jon never quite retired that Edison-encouraged curiosity. A year into a PhD, he took a leave to act as webmaster for a conference, exposing a skillset that had been little more than a hobby since his childhood of learning the ins and outs of a family PC, or using bulletin board services to find the best possible desktop background image.
Jon’s experience at that conference drew him away from his PhD. When he moved on to look for work as a design engineer in the midst of a recession, his newfound technology skills came in handy as he built websites and took gigs as a photographer to pay the bills.
At least, that’s how it started. Jon’s technical training as a mechanical engineer transferred seamlessly to web development. With mathematics and problem solving at the core of his skillset, Jon took a role programming for an education start-up.
Now, an expert in his field (and a ton of others) Jon identifies himself as a generalist, but anyone who works with him would agree that there’s nothing very general about Jon at all.
“I’m always knee deep in about 50 different disciplines. I think I could probably hold my own in a discussion on anything related to technology.”
Outside of the office, Jon is knee-deep in a lot more than systems architecture or the next trend in app development. Family, photography and a healthy dose of ultimate frisbee are among his favourites.