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Developer Spotlight: Jordon McKoy
Developer Spotlight: Celebrating the Builder

Developer Spotlight: Jordon McKoy

In this month's Developer Spotlight blog, we interviewed Jordon McKoy, Co-Founder and Head of Engineering at Benji.

Madison Maher
Madison Maher
October 27, 2022
Q: Where did you go to school/what is your background in engineering?

A: I went to the University of Guelph and got my degree in Computer Science, but my experience and passion for coding dates all the way back to when I was 13 years old. At the time, despite not having much experience, I was really interested in game development, so I tried familiarizing myself with those tools and processes and even tried starting my own small game development company.

After school, I started my career at a Software Consultancy firm by the name of Focus21 working on a vaccine management platform that helped with the logistics of getting vaccines to doctors.

I then moved to Rangle, and was there from the beginning of 2018 until the end of summer 2020, where I got to work on a lot of cool projects and even live in Japan for a little while. After that, I moved back to Canada working remotely for a Japanese company, and at the same time I began helping out with Benji. From July 2021 onwards, I joined Benji full time. 

Q: What’s your favourite thing you’ve ever built or worked on as an engineer? 

A: Benji is definitely my favourite. Aside from the obvious bias that comes with being a co-founder of Benji, it’s been my favourite because of how much I’ve learned in the role. Being the only developer on the team has given me the opportunity to be hands-on with every aspect of software development. While solo-developing is difficult, it pushes me beyond my comfort zone and into a space of new growth and knowledge every day. 

A close second: one of my last projects that I worked on with Rangle was for the largest fast fashion retailer. I got to work on this project while living in Japan which was cool in and of itself as I navigated new work and cultural norms. 

Q: What is one tool in your current stack that you could not live without?

A: Having a CI pipeline is absolutely invaluable to me. It’s really crucial for a developer team of one. The testing and verifiability aspect of CI/CD is like having another developer there to check my work and ensure I’m not breaking things. And the deployment piece helps a lot so that I don’t have to manually deploy things every time we want to make a release. Overall, it really ensures that the quality of our product remains high despite there being only one developer (me) working on it.  

Q: Which programming language are you most familiar with, and which do you prefer?

A: I’m most familiar with JavaScript/TypeScript and Go these days. I’m starting to prefer Go - Types are something I really appreciate in helping me reduce bugs. Again, as a solo dev, the more things in place to help prevent mistakes, the better.  

Q: If you could give any engineering related advice to your younger self, what would it be?

A: I would stress to my younger self the importance of building sound mental models. Rather than always trying to focus on learning the latest frameworks etc, I’d recommend focusing on understanding the type of problems you’re trying to solve, and learning the common patterns to solve them. 

Essentially, foundational & basic software development > newest and latest frameworks. 

Q: Where do you go to stay up-to-date on all things engineering?

A: I’m not too active on social media, but I do stay up to date with things on Twitter occasionally. I also find Reddit helpful – without having a team of actual developers around me to bounce ideas off of or chat about something new, I turn to Reddit for that team/community aspect of development. One of my favourite subreddits is r/ExperiencedDevs

Q: What’s your least favourite thing about being an engineer? 

A: Sometimes our “moments of success” as developers are really short lived. We spend a lot of time working on a particular feature or project and then once it’s released (and we’re confident it’s working properly), we can enjoy only a few minutes of relief and celebration before moving on to the next project/feature.

Q: What’s your favourite part about your job/being an engineer?

A: Being a problem solver. As a developer, you’re able to see a problem, think of a solution, and turn that solution into a reality that actually helps people – which is exactly what we did with Benji. It’s really fulfilling to be able to actually build solutions for others.

Q: Favourite place you’ve ever traveled? 

A: Japan. I lived in Tokyo for a year and a half. The food scene was amazing, I met some really cool people, and I loved how much energy there was in the city and how much there was to explore.

Q: What’s your coffee order, and where’s the best place to get that coffee from?

A: My coffee order is really simple – just black or an Americano. I’ll pretty much drink it from anywhere. Shoutout to Kenny from DevCycle who made me a really great coffee before I presented at the most recent APIs and IPAs event!

Q: Favourite music type/band, and where do you listen to your music?

I listen to Hip-hop, Dancehall, Afrobeats – mostly on Spotify, but I’ll use Youtube if Spotify doesn't have the mix I’m looking for. All of these genres are upbeat, so when I used to work in an office, people would walk by my desk and see me dancing in my chair while working. 

I don’t often listen to music when I’m designing a new system, but when I have a plan for a project and know what has to be built and how, I’ll turn on the music while I code.

About Benji

Benji is a bookkeeping chatbot that helps creators find tax write-offs, estimate quarterly taxes, and file self-employment taxes. For more information, visit www.betterwithbenji.com

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written By
Madison Maher

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