An agency like ours has many moving parts to make a client’s store come to life. Getting the design just right, snappy on-brand copywriting, and all the development work customers don’t see - everything comes together to create a great Shopify store. For each of those individual elements, our brilliant team members work hard to ensure both clients and customers have an excellent experience. We want you to meet those team members; the people behind the Shopify stores, who make our agency what it is.
Today we’re catching up with one of our amazing developers, Josh Echeverri.
Born and raised in Miami, FL, Josh attended and graduated from Florida International University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. And when he says Interdisciplinary, he means it - from Journalism to Psychology and later Data Analytics to Logic, and Sociology. So how does that all lead to starting a career in web development?
How did you get into development work?
After being out of college for a few years and working full-time, I began to teach myself web development. First, I learned through online training materials and courses. Then, I started making websites for businesses owned by family members. They were so happy with the work that they recommended me to their friends who also had small businesses.
One day a client needed a custom web application. Realizing I needed to learn how to set up and connect a database, I searched for materials to teach myself. A close friend had recently enrolled in a boot camp to learn Ruby on Rails web application development, so I reached out, sat in on one of their classes, and the rest was history. I signed up at Wyncode Academy at the start of 2015 and joined a Bitcoin ATM startup as one of their early employees right after completing my coursework.
What were you doing before The Taproom?
I was working at Norwegian Cruise Lines as a part of their Core Architecture Team. Internally we were known as the Lego team since we built out all the user interface components re-used throughout their microservices. In addition, I worked on newly-redesigned apps such as their Booking system and passengers' personal itinerary/calendar app.
What were you originally hired to do, and has that changed since you started?
I was initially hired here at the Taproom to explore the possibility of Shopify Application development and to help out with Theme Development. Since I started, application development has centered around middleware projects, but I've also contributed and learned a ton about theme development. I've also taken pride in working with our Director of Engineering, Josiah, in our constantly evolving development workflows. Our goal is to make all of their lives easier when developing themes for our amazing clients.
Working in ecommerce means you’re always kept on your toes. It isn’t just about keeping up with new trends and developments, but also how to put together the exact right experience for each individual client. Josh’s role means he gets a view on both the creative and technical side of building customer experiences, giving him a unique perspective on ecommerce as a whole.
Describe what you do day-to-day in your role
I'm just your friendly neighborhood developer at The Taproom Agency. On a day-to-day basis, I'm reviewing Github pull requests, interfacing with project managers and stakeholders over project requirements, and sometimes I get my hands dirty and write some code. I've grown to love curating developer experiences by iterating on our toolsets to help streamline our workflow. If I can help our developers save a few minutes a day from repetitive processes, it can translate into N amount of time they can devote to critical thinking and problem-solving. I think that creates tremendous value, plus it also feels excellent making my colleagues' lives easier.
What have been the biggest lessons you've learned throughout your time with The Taproom?
I've learned a lot about the Shopify platform, its ecosystem, services, and how to offer the best solutions to our clients. Shopify is a fantastic company that genuinely cares about its clients, both storefronts and developers. They listen to what we want out of their platform and are always improving both of our experiences.
What about the ecommerce industry specifically do you find interesting?
I'm a big fan of digitally native, Direct to Consumer style brands and the products they offer. It allows a lot of creative space to stretch their legs and craft a unique ecommerce experience for the consumer.
On the other hand, the most challenging aspect of working in ecommerce is customer security. A benefit of offering Shopify to our customers is comfort in knowing they are Certified Level 1 Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliant.
What trends have piqued your interest recently?
The subscription model and all the unique ways it's being used by businesses always intrigues me. It's a business model that isn't new by any means but offers countless unique ways to provide value to your customers.
However, I think "Headless" commerce is the most exciting trend in ecommerce right now. It's a solution that handles all the content delivery, storage, and management without a frontend. It helps developers separate business logic from the marketing storefront customers see and use, providing greater leverage over managing all functional elements programmatically.
As much as we love what we do, we aren’t all ecommerce all the time at The Taproom. When he isn’t improving workflows and working with the team on projects, Josh spends his time in Downtown Miami with his wife, Carrie, and cat, Howl.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
You can usually find me somewhere near the ocean in my spare time. Although mostly saltwater fishing in the Florida Keys and Biscayne Bay, I also love hanging out on the shore with friends and family. We just upgraded our 19' Cobia to a 23' SeaCraft center console that we're restoring — hoping to get it up and running for the summer!
What are some of your favorite sites to spend time on?
Reddit, Twitter, Hacker News, Youtube.
What's your favorite drink to have first thing in the morning, and the one you go to once you close your laptop for the day?
Coffee and coffee. Chemex pour-over style in the morning. After lunch, I put a Mokka pot on the stove for some Cuban coffee or espresso for Carrie's lattes.
If you could learn any skill, what would it be?
Proficiency in more foreign languages. I'm fluent in Spanish, but I'd love to learn to speak French, Italian, Japanese, and Mandarin if I had the time.
Where would you most like to travel to one day?
Japan. Japanese history interests me, especially the Sengoku period.