This post is part of the A Day in the Life series

Let’s give a big welcome to Zeth De Luna! Zeth is a self-motivated recent graduate of a coding camp with a passion for learning. He graduated quickly from the Studio Simpatico Coding Bootcamp™️ and is now a fully embedded member of the team.

I spent most of my childhood/adolescence playing around in the creative arts (drawing, piano, guitar, ukulele, stop-animation, and more) so I don’t really know how I ended up with a degree in astrophysics and having a job as a web developer.

Tell us a little about yourself!

Hello! I’m Zeth, Studio Simpatico’s Head of the West Coast Development team (by default – I’m the only one on this side of the country). Believe it or not, I had no idea what a web developer even was up until about 5 months before I got this job (I just took the internet for granted). My education/career path took a few turns before I landed in this field amongst this wonderful group of people. I started out in my university’s pre-med program in hopes to get into medical school, but about halfway through I found it incredibly uninteresting and impulsively changed my major (mid-lecture) to astrophysics. After a series of crises the level that a 23-year-old living comfortably at home with his parents could possibly go through, I discovered the world of web development (more on that later).

Outside of work, the only actual hobby I’d say that I have is powerlifting – there’s just an immense feeling of accomplishment that comes with pushing your body’s strength to its limits and breaking through old personal bests! Besides that, you’ll usually find me relaxing by the Malibu beaches, exploring all types of foods, or balling up at the park basketball courts. (Amber: gee what a rough life!)

What does your typical work day at Simpatico look like?

I usually come into work a little less than an hour after everyone else starts, so the first thing I do is go on Slack and see if I missed any fun conversations. Next, I check up on my to-do lists and start with what I can knock out the quickest so that I won’t have any little side tasks lingering in my mind while I work on the bigger projects. Depending on how our clients are feeling, I might find myself jumping around between projects, which can get a bit hectic – but luckily I have an amazing team that’s always willing to help if I need it.

Why did you decide to drop astrophysics and start coding?

As I mentioned earlier, my decision to major in astrophysics was a bit impulsive and I didn’t think much in terms of further education or career path – I pretty much just did astrophysics because I thought it was cool! Turns out it was pretty hard… and to get anywhere in the field of physics you’re going to need a PhD. By the time I willed my way to the end of undergrad I did not want to go through that again. I had some coding experience from my classes and thought that a degree in astrophysics would give me enough clout to land a job somewhere, so I explored my options and ultimately found that web development was the most fun and creatively satisfying.

You picked up front-end development very quickly – what’s your favorite thing you’ve learned so far? What are you wanting to learn going forward?

Hmmmm.. I don’t know if I can single out a favorite thing I’ve learned, but I did really enjoy the learning experiences I’ve had when building pages or modules from the ground up. From simple modules to more complex pages, you’re bound to find yourself in a few tricky situations that can be fun (most of the time) to weave your way through to a solution – and a lot of times you can use those solutions in future projects. I recently took my first crack at working with APIs and it was pretty fun – while I had it functioning properly – so I think learning more about using external data in our sites would be a nice experience!

What’s it like working remotely and being three hours behind the New York office? Are there any pitfalls?

I actually love working remotely and being three hours behind! Not having to commute to an office makes my mornings so much more peaceful, but I think the best thing about working remotely on NY time is that my workday ends around 3PM here in sunny Los Angeles, CA. This lets me have an amazing work-life balance since I still have so much time left in the day to live my life! The only downside was the first couple of weeks while I was adjusting my sleeping habits, but now I’m used to starting my day early and it is definitely worth it. Honestly, I don’t think I ever want to work on my local time again.

What advice would you give to another person wanting to be a web developer?

I’d say that they should learn the very basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, then just jump into the deep end. There are great (and free) resources online that can teach you so many detailed aspects of web development, but I learned the most by actually building little web projects on my own. You don’t have to know everything, and you definitely don’t have to remember everything that you’ve done – about 70% of my working process is spent on Google and Stack Overflow trying to get something to work properly. If you’re willing to learn, you’ll be just fine!