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Tech Tidbits Ep 1: Leo Southwick

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episode 01

Development, AI, and More


In Tech Tidbits Episode 01, Chris Teigen interviews Leo Southwick, a Senior Developer and Team Lead, and shares his experiences working beyond digital tech, discusses skill enhancement, and provides insights into AI’s future impact.


Discover how Leo’s career journey expanded his skillset and learn about the opportunities AI presents for professionals in digital development and beyond. Stay tuned for a thought-provoking discussion on technology and digital transformation.

Below is the transcript of the video

Chris: This is Leo Southwick. He’s a team lead on one of our custom development teams. Thanks for taking a few minutes today to talk to us. Are you ready for a few questions?

Leo: Yeah. Shoot.

Chris: Alright. So starting out, you started as an intern seven years ago at Creed Interactive. Now you’re a team lead. How has your perspective on technology changed as you evolved from an intern to a team lead?

Leo: Team lead? Okay. So to correct you, I started as an intern in 2012, the summer of 2012. So it has been 11 years since I started as an intern.

Chris: Yeah, that’s more accurate. Okay. But thinking about your career path, how has your perspective on technology changed?

Leo: Well, I think one thing that I’m not necessarily proud of is that when I was an intern and in my early development days, I was very gung-ho, very much like, “Yeah, I’ll learn that. I’ll do that. I’ll figure that out.” Now that I’ve moved into more of a management role, I’m much more hesitant towards learning and figuring out new things.

Chris: Interesting. How do you navigate that shift?

Leo: I’m trying to bring myself back around on that. I’ve realized that those same people I’m asking to do the heavy lifting want to be learning new things and stretching themselves. So, I’m trying to bring myself back around.

Chris: That’s interesting, Leo, because it kind of talks about how the role of a team lead changes your perspective, right? And it changes your priorities.

Leo: Absolutely. I’ve gotten more comfortable with high-level concepts, thinking about a problem, creating a diagram, architectural under workings of a project.

Chris: It sounds like your role has evolved in a way that aligns with the responsibilities of a team lead.

Leo: Definitely. It’s about understanding those high-level aspects and making informed decisions for the project.

Chris: If you went through a time machine and started over, what would you do differently?

Leo: Well, aside from smart financial decisions, I would focus more on physical projects. The web and application world feel a bit fanciful, and I miss the tangible aspect of creating something physical.

Chris: That’s an interesting perspective. Anything else you’d do differently?

Leo: I’d put more focus on hands-on projects and finding the best approach for each individual project.

Chris: With all your experience, what is your favorite tech stack and why?

Leo: My favorite tech stack is Angular on the front end, Nest JSS or AAT net on the backend. For a database, I would choose Postgres paired with an ORM, preferably Prisma. Storybook is another critical tool for me, making frontend code more pleasant to work with.

Chris: That’s a well-thought-out tech stack. What makes Storybook so important for you?

Leo: Working on frontend code is more pleasant when isolated in a Storybook story. It allows you to focus on specific tasks without worrying about the rest of the application.

Chris: What were the first technologies you remember working with at Creed?

Leo: My first real project was Slumberland Furniture, an e-commerce site built on a custom .NET backend. I worked extensively with M-S-S-Q-L database, handling promotions and scripts for events like Black Friday.

Chris: Sounds like you had some challenging experiences early on.

Leo: Definitely. Working with the production database during critical events was stressful but valuable for learning.

Chris: What is the most recent technology you learned?

Leo: I’ve recently learned Prisma, Terraform for infrastructure as code, and Next JSS, a React framework emphasizing server-side rendering. Each has its challenges, especially Next JSS with its file system-based routing.

Chris: Interesting mix of technologies. What’s been the most challenging part of your recent learning experiences?

Leo: Next JSS’s file system-based routing can be a bit complex and challenging to manage.

Chris: As a team lead, what is one piece of advice every young developer should hear?

Leo: Do the work as best as you can. Even if you don’t fully understand, try your best. Come prepared when asking questions, clearly articulate what you don’t understand, and pay attention to technology trends. There’s a lot to learn from doing things incorrectly.

Chris: Solid advice, Leo. Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences with us.