Nathanael Anderson, Developer Expert for NativeScript, talks about working as an independent contractor in Mexico.
Nathanael Anderson, well-known for his omnipresence on the NativeScript forums, Github repo, Slack channel (join here) and elsewhere, is a key member of the Developer Expert team for NativeScript.
This post is part of a series featuring our Developer Experts, community members who represent the best of our products. Read about our other featured experts here and meet more DEs here.
What’s your background, professionally?
I've been programming and doing DevOps for over 20 years on a wide variety of hardware and software, working on everything from tiny embedded devices to big server farms. Currently I’ve been trying to focus more on mobile development using primarily my favorite tool, NativeScript, when possible. However, I have several clients that keep me busy with server side contracts. If it can be programmed, I can probably program it.
Where are you based and why?
I’m a US citizen, based in Mexico by choice. I love the tropical weather, beach and the Mexican sense of community and family. It doesn’t get much better than when you can walk barefoot in the warm ocean water on a deserted beach watching the sun set and think, man, I’m glad I’m no longer under all that silly winter weather and those crazy cold advisories.
With whom are you working?
I'm a totally independent contractor, I work with anyone who is willing to pay me. Right this minute I’m working with a state government agency on one large project that will be rolled out across the entire state early this year, and on the opposite side I’m working with a couple different individuals on full NativeScript applications and/or plugins. I work with anyone who wants my help on anything you can think of.
What project are you working on now?
The projects I have open on my desktop today are the new NativeScript Plugins site, two brand new cool plugins, a client application, and a couple SSH shells into some servers.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve done recently?
Hmm, that is a very hard one to answer; this month has already had so many interesting variations. It's hard to decide if it was getting NodeUnit to work properly inside the NativeScript testing framework or programming on a EMV credit card reader. Or maybe the Cordova to NativeScript API layer project. Next week, I get to play, er, program another Bluetooth portable printer for NativeScript. This is a hard choice; I love doing the really technical jobs so when you give me a challenge—I love it.
Which of our products do you use and why?
NativeScript; I am one of NativeScript’s biggest fans. I have been doing NativeScript since pretty close to the initial release of v0.90. I also use NativeScript UI and I’ve got clients that use the cool Telerik Platform which allows me (& them) to easily import a NativeScript project into a fully integrated system that can even distribute the apps to the clients' customers. You have done a good job of integrating the pieces and making a much easier to use way to build and distribute applications.
What are some challenges you are encountering now in your work?
It seems simple, but I have trouble with shipping; I do get to do all sorts of hardware projects; but shipping in Mexico is bad and slow and import taxes are expensive. You get spoiled by Amazon, Walmart and other modern quick shopping in the US. Here, let’s just say you have to PRE-PRE-plan things, and have some lead time before you can even get the equipment.
What’s the biggest software pain point, in your opinion, in the mind of your partners/clients?
The biggest software pain point is the vast number of choices. It is hard for the non-technically inclined client to know if Ruby is comparable to, say, Word. There is so much choice and it is very hard for them to understand when one technology stack (say sql) is better than another (no-sql). They both have pros and cons; but the number of buzz words and ads and word of mouth about x vs y can be overwhelming to a lot of clients. My job some of the time is just to help them to limit the choices down to understand their needs and then present recommendations based on their needs.