Prairie Portrait: Brandon Ruschill of Goodsmiths
Name: Brandon Ruschill
Bio: Although able to survive on mental acuity and charm alone, I instead choose to sustain myself through humor, music, and code.
Title: Software Engineer at Goodsmiths
Residence: Des Moines, Iowa
Intro music: "Mighty Mighty Children, Pt. 2," by Baby Huey
Silicon Prairie News: What current project or undertaking at Goodsmiths excites you the most, and why?
Brandon Ruschill: Honestly (and this is what makes me a terrible interviewee), everything. I love to hear about what people want and then build it, or what people think is terrible and then fix it. If I did have to pick a project, though, it'd be implementing the activity stream portion of our site. It was a situation where I was asked to build it and thought, "I have no idea what I'm doing, so I should probably get started." Though fairly small in scale, it's one of the things I'm most proud of thus far in my career.
SPN: You've said software development should be treated more like a traditional trade than something you go to school for. Can you expand on that theory a bit and explain how you came to that belief?
BR: With Eliason Media and Goodsmiths, I've learned more in the year that I've been with them than in my three years at ISU, and I attribute that primarily to the hands-on experience I've gained through working with them. I believe the time of someone who is interested in software development would be better spent as an apprentice, working directly with real developers building real applications, rather than rebuilding an OS's built-in calculator in a few different classes. I don't want to be misconstrued, though. I'm not saying anyone should drop out of college or that a software engineering degree is worthless. I just believe that there should be other, readily available and accepted options of getting into the field without a gargantuan student loan debt.
SPN: You've said you "strive to learn as much as you can about everything." What are three new subjects or topics you'd like to throw yourself headlong into learning about over the next couple of months?
BR: Steganography, specifically in images; machine learning, paired with some form of real-time image processing; and gamification, but utilized in a way to drive personal or social change rather than the 'badge hoarder' idea that it's become as of late.
SPN: In your Goodsmiths bio, you cite an interest in visiting New Zealand that stems from Lord of the Rings. Do you have any other places you're itching to visit based mostly on your cinematic experience of them?
BR: I'd have to say Japan, but rather than visiting because of a locale from a movie, it'd be to visit the Ghibli Museum. Studio Ghibli is an animation and film studio that puts out some seriously heart-warming, beautifully animated children's movies. If you're wanting to check out one of the films, I'd recommend not picking up "Grave of the Fireflies" unless you're a fan of spending the rest of your day with a heavy heart.
SPN: As a bassist for one band (The New Bodies) and drummer for another (Christopher the Conquered), do you consider yourself as more Paul or more Ringo, and why?
BR: I consider myself more as Ringo, because he claimed to have never played the same fill twice. Though rarely when we're practicing, I find myself attempting crazier things the more we play a song live (quite often to the surprise of my bandmates). The majority of the time I'm able to save fills before they go too far south, but when I can't, the other musicians are talented enough to make it seem like it was meant to take such a nosedive.
Credits: Photo by Jerrod Jordahl.
Prairie Portraits: To learn more about this series, see our introduction post, or visit our archives for past Prairie Portraits. To suggest an individual for a future Prairie Portrait, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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