DevWig - An Introduction
6 min read
Well, I imagine if you are reading this that you are at least interested enough in what I have to say to make sure you didn't miss any nuggets of wisdom in this post which I am extremely thankful for. That being said, this first post will mainly serve two purposes. First, this is the first time I am publishing ANYTHING, so I wanted to have a post to write that allows me to get accustomed to writing like this. Also, I want to give everyone visiting this blog in the future to have somewhere to go if they wish to learn a bit more about me. This doesn't mean that I wont be dropping any nuggets of wisdom though so stick around and you may just learn something cool! :)
My name is Hunter Wiginton, and I am originally from a small town in Mississippi (in the US). I grew up in a relatively "normal" middle class family. Both my parents worked full-time jobs, but for most of my childhood, my dad was also attending university to earn his doctorate in Chemistry. In my opinion, having a parent attend college at this time in your life really presents a unique advantage, especially when a new technology like the internet is taking over the world. I still remember when we got our first computer around 1998... with Windows '98. At first, it was the games that got me interested in computers, but as I said before, the internet was taking the world by storm. As I watched my dad do more and more with the internet at that time, I became increasingly interested in the how it worked. The problem was, at 5 or 6 years old, I was not yet the proficient Googler that I am today. So, I stuck to what was I already was fun - video games. For the next several years, I continued to use computers and the internet to do small school projects; however, I never truly became proficient in their usage until I went to university myself.
Since I was 16 years old, I knew I wanted to be an engineer. Before I got my driver's license, my parents bought me a 1995 Ford F-150. The rules were, if I could keep it running, it was mine. I hated when it broke down, but I loved working on that old truck. This is where my love for engineering started. I had decided that I wanted to get a degree in mechanical engineering and work in the automotive industry. So, when I graduated high school, that's exactly what I did. After going to school and working full-time for 5 years, I graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering. With this degree, I also gained a ton of knowledge, most importantly though, I had learned how to learn. This would end up being the key to all my future success.
During the final months of my college career, I was recommended for a position as a biomedical engineer by a friend that I had actually tutored a bit in the years prior. I had offers for engineering positions in the automotive industry, including one for a company that I had previously completed an internship for. However, at that time, I felt like the offer I had to enter the biomedical field as a fresh graduate of mechanical engineering was too good of an opportunity to pass up. So, I moved to Memphis, TN and got to straight to work. I spent the next 6 years growing in that field. My expertise was in orthopedic procedures, specifically knees and hips. For the first 2.5 years, I was responsible for designing patient matched surgical guides for total knee replacement surgeries for my particular region of the US. During this time, I always tried to spend any extra time I had by helping out the new product development team. This eventually led the team to create a position for me to work on NPD projects full time! So, I spent the rest of that 6-ish years as a project manager and product development engineer helping to develop new biomedical products for orthopedic procedures into the companies portfolio. This is also when I began to spend some time with the software team helping to build out software solutions for the department, specifically in relation to medical imaging. The software team found out that I was a self-taught developer and started to throw work to me simply because they had more than they knew what to do with anyway.
Through my experience as a freelancer and my full-time experience building web applications for the biomedical industry, I decided that I wanted to do software/web development full-time. So, after becoming a senior engineer in the biomedical field, I set out to change careers and become a front-end developer. I knew this would require me go back to a more mid-level or even junior position, but I knew it would be worth it n the long run. I started this job search in February of 2022 and received my first offer for a front-end engineering position in early April of 2022. In a later post I will discuss all of this and give you all the good dirt on how I did this, but for now just know that I am extremely pleased with myself! Switching careers is never an easy thing to do especially when you are still highly passionate about the career you currently have. I had no idea whether I was making the "correct" decision or not, and I still don't to be perfectly honest. However, I do know that I am having a lot of fun, I am learning more than I could have imagined I would, and I am loving every second of it.
Now that you know my life story, I hope you will stick around and read some of my more informative and educational posts. Go follow me on Instagram @dev.wig and go check out my portfolio at devwig.com :). I also hope that you learned something you consider useful. Also if you made it this far and have been wondering, yes, my dad is kind of a mad scientist.