Hunter Wiginton
The Dev Dish

The Dev Dish

DevWig - An Introduction

DevWig - An Introduction

Hunter Wiginton's photo
Hunter Wiginton
·Jun 22, 2022·

6 min read

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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.

I mentioned before that I worked full time while in college. When I graduated, I had a lot of free time. I knew I wanted to do something useful with this time, but I didn't really know what to do yet. I started off by learning to play guitar, and then piano. I never mastered either, but I got decent enough to want to start making some tracks. So, I bought my first ever MacBook Pro and started learning to using Logic Pro to create tracks. I never mastered this either though, because I eventually got severely distracted by how the software actually worked. This reignited a passion that I have always had for computer science, web development, and software engineering. So, my free time started to be consumed by learning more about computer science and teaching myself how to develop web apps. I started with the basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but I quickly started to convince friends to let me create websites for them and their businesses. Using my ability to learn quickly and a LOT of "googling", I began to get very good at it. Especially when it came to front-end development.

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.

 
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