Interested in digital products? Want to get a feel for what a day in the life looks like on the Di team? You’ve come to the right place. Every quarter, we will be interviewing a member of our cohort for your reading pleasure. This time around, we are chatting with Luke Mommaerts. You can follow Luke on Twitter at @lmommaerts and GitHub at lmommaerts.
J: Hi there! Why don’t we start off by delving into what your role is at Differential.
L: I’m a developer. My history at Differential has slotted me into a bit of a project-hopping role, which has its pros and cons. It’s fun and rewarding to see and work on a lot of the diverse projects we create here, but it can also be difficult to frequently learn (and relearn) projects, especially with how quickly we work.
J: How and when did you become interested in the kind of work you do?
L: I’ve always loved technology and logical thinking, which is, at its very core, what programming is all about. I didn’t get my degree in computer science, but I took a few courses while I was in undergrad and loved them. After working in the insurance industry - my degree is in actuarial science - I couldn’t stand the environment and bureaucracy any more, so I decided to pick up learning computer science and programming on my own. Creativity has never been my strong suit, so being able to create things using logic is an amazing feeling for me.
J: How did your career path lead you to Differential?
L: I guess I began answering this in the previous question, but after teaching myself programming for a few months, I was able to land an internship at ModCloth in Pittsburgh. Through that experience, I next got a full-time job at Branding Brand, who makes mobile sites for large e-commerce companies. This is where my programming experience really took off, and helped me prove to Differential I was worth hiring!
J: Differential hires entrepreneurial minds to help solve the problems of intrapreneurs – what is your first memory of being entrepreneurial?
L: I wouldn’t say I have an entrepreneurial mind, but I do love taking risks, solving problems, and helping others solve theirs. Switching careers was not the easiest or safest route I could’ve taken, especially at that time in my life, but after pushing through the long nights to learn what I needed, the reward was worth the risk.
J: What do you like (or love) about working here?
L: It might sound cliché, but the people. I’ve worked in multiple places that have the “startup culture,” which is great, but unless you can respect and trust the people you work with, you won’t truly love your job. I feel comfortable enough to talk to anyone at Differential, even with more critical discussions.
J: Part of the Differential team is remote - in your experience, are there advantages and/or difficulties to remote teamwork?
L: When I started at Differential, I worked mostly in the office. Now, I work almost exclusively remotely. If a company accepts remote workers, and treats everyone equally with respect to the work they do, the advantages no doubt outweigh the disadvantages. It’s always nice being able to spend time with coworkers face-to-face, but technology has gotten to a point where working with each other remotely works pretty seamlessly.
J: What’s streaming through your earbuds while you are working?
L: Depends on the day, I suppose. Noisli if I need something calming; podcasts if I’m working on something that doesn’t need deep focus; some alternative indie if I just want to listen to some music; blast some Cardi B through my speakers if my wife wants to listen to music as well.
J: And last, but certainly not least - favorite coffee or lunch spot near the office?
L: Haven’t been to many places, but Bakersfield is always a good option for me.