Discover the “Hidden Gem” of Chicago, According to Nansen Apprentice Shawn Coleman

From music to the metaverse, Shawn Coleman brought to Nansen a wide range of interests and a passion for emerging tech trends when he joined us as a front-end apprentice. Here, Shawn shares his hopes that Nansen will expand its AI capabilities, explains the Unreal Engine, and shares his secret spot for outdoor activities in Chicago.


What's your career background? What do you do at Nansen?

I've been kind of all over the place. I’m an artist by nature. I went to school for Game Art Animation, and I did that for a little while. I also have an Associate's Degree in Music. After COVID, I decided to change career fields, and I joined a coding bootcamp. Now I'm at Nansen, where I’m currently a front-end apprentice focused on quality assurance (QA).


So is this your first coding job? What has your experience been so far?

Yes, it is! So far, working at Nansen has been really amazing. I love the culture. We are a family. Our conversations inspire growth and innovation. We focus on working together as a whole to complete projects, and make sure everyone is supported.

Right now, I’m just really happy to be working at Nansen. They’re investing in my future so that I can, in turn, invest in the company and help the company grow.


Nansen has a policy where employees can spend four hours a week working on a side project. Are there any of yours that you’d like to share?

Being a gamer, I dabble with the Unreal Engine. It’s a 3D creation tool that you can download for free. The tutorials will teach you how to build within the gaming world. So I'm really excited about that. It would be super fun to create augmented reality experiences. 


Do you think you might apply what you’re learning in Unreal Engine to some Nansen client work in the future?

Well, there's been a lot of talk about the metaverse recently. And engines like the Unreal Engine could play a big role in helping to create different universes and augmented-reality experiences. So, maybe!

I'm also really interested in AI. I feel like AI and the metaverse go hand in hand, like separate branches on the same tree. So I'm hoping to learn a little bit more about AI as well, and maybe one day Nansen will get into AI development.


What do you like to do outside of work? You mentioned gaming—anything else?

I like to have a balance between technology and nature. So when it’s not cold or snowing in Chicago, I like to go to the lake, ride my bike, go hiking, that kind of thing. Just to be outdoors and offset some of my screen time. 

My favorite spot—I like to call a hidden gem of Chicago—is the South Shore Cultural Center. It has the most beautiful golf course, a private beach and hiking trail in the back. It’s very diverse and reflects the melting pot that Chicago has become.