Hotspot: Jonathan Piott in the Zone

Photo of the Piott familyFeb. 19, 2018 — Since the days of dial-up internet, a passion for programming and computing has allowed Jonathan Piott (pronounced PIE-utt) to turn a few opportunities for broadening his skills into his chosen career. As a result, working in a people-focused environment, continuous learning, and even meeting his wife are a few of the experiences that he calls "life-changing."

 Jonathan’s story starts right down the road in Carrollton, Texas, where he attended junior high and high school. "My older brother built a basic text-based adventure game, and after seeing how you can build whatever you can imagine using digital building blocks, I haven’t stopped since," he said.

“Only a very few programming classes were available in high school or on the internet, so I was very excited to attend UNT to study computer science,” he said. “I soon got a student-assistant position troubleshooting network connections and computer issues for on-campus residents, which led to a full-time position in web development, and I have been here ever since!”

Jonathan's primary responsibility as a web manager is to build web applications for various departments. The applications are used to streamline daily processes, access and organize data, and facilitate communication with students.

“Our biggest front-facing sites are eHousing, an on-campus housing application, and eDining, on-campus meal-plan ordering. With a team that includes Sharon Huang and Joshua Huckabee, Jonathan, a dedicated PC-only user, also supports various internal sites, tools for housing, dining, and facilities, as well as the Drupal sites for housing and facilities,” he said.

On a typical day, Jonathan is working on improving the processes and practices of his team, keeping up to date on security, tools, and coding best practices, and focusing on project and team management. Responding to and writing emails is part of his day, but he also spends a lot of time programming with PHP, JavaScript and SQL, he said.

What advice would you give incoming students who are thinking about a career in web development/programming? "There are so many languages and areas of focus within the programming world that it can be overwhelming. I would say to just try out the different areas and find what really interests you and what you get passionate about. Being passionate about programming really helps you to succeed. Also, go to class."

What advice would you give a new graduate who is looking for a job in web development?

  1. Keep learning. You will find out about technologies and practices that you don’t learn in school.
  2. Create personal projects outside/after school and keep them on a portfolio site. They make a more significant impression than school projects.
  3. Look at code from more experienced programmers. There are plenty of open source projects from which you can learn, e.g., GitHub.

After work, Jonathan devotes himself to family time. He and his wife, Traci, a UNT fashion design alumna, enjoy taking their children to the library almost every weekend. Jonathan, a board game aficionado, looks forward to sharing his love of games with his children, he said. "I mostly use my phone to take pictures and videos of family and to listen to podcasts/audiobooks. He uses Pocket Casts and Audible because the kids like any music you can dance to, he said.

 

Editor's Note: Please note that information in each edition of Benchmarks Online is likely to change or degrade over time, especially the links to various websites. For current information on a specific topic, search the UNT website, UNT's UIT Help Desk or the world wide web. Email your questions and comments to the UNT University Information Technology Department or call 940-565-4068.