Joe Geringer: One Nansen Developer’s Journey from CD-ROM Design to Frontend Specialist

Joe Geringer: One Nansen Developer’s Journey from CD-ROM Design to Frontend Specialist

Senior Front End Developer Joe Geringer started working at Nansen in 2012 doing front-end development after his sister Mary, another Nansen employee, urged him to join the company. In the years since, according to Joe, he has “learned how to do things in a very different way.” We love that—so keep reading to learn more about The Nansen Way.

How did you first get into front-end development?

I actually went to college for it. This is a while ago—I graduated in '03 in web development, in interactive CD-ROM development. At the time CDs were really big. CD-ROM games and stuff like that.

Back then, if you were a front end developer, it was more common to not only develop but also to design the interface. I really like the design part; I would pump out designs a lot early on. And then it seemed like the industry changed and said, "From now on you either go this way, design, or you go this way, front end code." So I just stuck with the code side. It was just a little bit more interesting to do, the interactive stuff, than design, but I still like design.


What do you like to do outside of work?

I love baseball and I love old video games, retro video games. I have an arcade and love tinkering with that and adding new games to it. And I love old vintage video games and learning about them. And then following the White Sox.

Art too, I've been doing some art stuff, just personally on the side lately. Getting into painting. I haven't done it for like 20 years and just all of a sudden, a month ago I'm like, "Why don't I paint anymore?"


What attracted you to Nansen, and why did you choose to work here?

Full disclosure: my sister recommended me for the job. She works at Nansen, and she told me about it for a year. She told me, "You work on different projects. You'll work with different people. You'll be more responsible for things than just one or two parts of a website." So I thought that it was really cool to wear many hats.

Some of the previous web dev jobs I’ve had were factories. You're like a cog in the wheel and you mainly focus on one or two areas of development. After meeting with Nansen for the first time, I liked how it was a really open environment. You could talk to anybody. Everywhere else I worked, there were cubicles, there was more bureaucracy in that. And here, I was surprised to see the bosses sitting at the same tables.


What do you think is unique about Nansen's work?

It seems like we have an internal philosophy that we could do anything. We could do anything as long as we have time. 

Other places are often very different—it's just like, "Well, we don't budget for that. We don't value your time to do something new or something different. Do that on your own time." Here, we have dedicated time, every couple weeks, to spend four hours working on whatever project you want, as long as it's related to your career. I don't have much time to spend on that these days. I wish there was more time to be honest, but anyway, it's nice that we offer that. That's unique. Not a lot of companies do that. 


What are some of the four-hour projects you’ve worked on in the past?

Just building a website for myself to store some recipes that I come up with. And I've researched things, just random topics on the web in 3D and bringing 3D to the web; and experimenting with newer technologies like that which I don't have time during the work day to look into. I've definitely learned a lot, and ended up using bits of that work in real projects as well. It's just nice to not be stressed by completing research in X number of hours. You could just, no limits, read at your own pace, learn at your own pace. And that's really cool.

I really like 3D on the web. Interacting with 3D interfaces either through AR or VR on the web. I think that's really cool. 


Have you been able to apply something you learned in a side project to a client project?

Yeah. There's that 3D thing I was talking about—we just launched a page using this concept. I ended up using that same code as a boilerplate, basically, for the work that came out of it. It was to demonstrate rotating a 3D object on a webpage and have the mouse cursor follow that. And there was some animation involved in that too. It was that concept that I first worked on, and we ended up using it in a live project.