#001: Developer at Shopify – Kevin Hughes

Published On November 1, 2015 | Computer Eng, Engineers, Mech Eng

Kevin Hughes completed a bachelors of Mechanical Engineering before pursuing a Masters degree in Computer Engineering, both at Queen’s University in Canada. During his studies, he was a mentor for high school students with the FIRST Robotics program – his team won the coveted Chairman’s Award. Kevin was one of the few students from around the world selected to participate in the Google Summer of Code in 2013. He is now a developer at Shopify, a fast growing Canadian e-commerce company that went public in April 2015.

In our conversation, we discuss:

  • How Shopify is revolutionizing online commerce.
  • The labels of developer, coder, and engineer.
  • Agile programming methodology.
  • What it means to be a full stack developer.
  • Projects that Kevin has worked on at Shopify.
  • Why he pursued a Master’s degree.
  • His job hunting experiences.
  • What Kevin looks for when hiring employees.
  • Why passion is crucial for success.
  • How plans change unexpectedly.
  • Recognizing the skills that you have.
  • His research on machine vision and event detection.
  • Augmented Reality Pool.
  • Gaining experience through volunteering and teaching.
  • The FIRST Robotics program.
  • The demand for good developers.
  • Google Summer of Code.
  • How Open Source can help you with your project.
  • Strong opinions weakly held.
  • And much more…

Selected Links from the Show:

Reach out to Kevin Hughes via LinkedIn or Twitter.


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Discussion timestamps:

4:06 – Intro
5:00 – What is Shopify? What is their mission?
7:56 – Is there a difference between the labels of programer, developer, engineer?
8:43 – Agile programming methodology.
10:00 – Projects that Kevin has worked on at Shopify.
10:30 – What is an API? Why are they important?
14:35 – What interests Kevin about programming.
15:22 – Why Kevin studied mechanical engineering.
16:33 – Discussion about internships
18:02 – Difference between job hunting process in Oil & Gas and Software sectors.
19:06 – The interview process for software companies.
20:31 – What Kevin looks for when hiring interns.
21:56- Kevin talks about when his passion for programing started.
23:06 – Reasons for pursuing his Masters degree.
28:34 – Masters thesis – machine vision and event detection.
31:41 – Augmented Reality Pool.
38:03 – Volunteering with high schools FIRST Robotics program.
41:54 – Promoting Science and Technology to the next generation.
43:14 – Google Summer of Code and the open source community.
47:15 – Skills necessary to be a great developer.
47:45 – Strong opinions weakly held.
48:40 – Nutrition and fitness philosophy.
49:89 – Advice to engineering students.
52:07 – Exciting future technologies.