Meet The Champion: April 2021

Saturday, May 8, 2021| Tags: Perl, Raku

Get to know about Aaron Smith

Welcome to the monthly series Meet The Champion.

Last month we spoke to Tyler Wardhaugh, the winner of March 2021.

Today we are talking to Aaron Smith, the winner of April 2021 of The Weekly Challenge. I hope you are going to enjoy the interview.

Mohammad: Tell us about your technical background?

Aaron: I started programming when I was in grad school for Bioinformatics. Bioinformatics relies heavily on Python and Perl (especially BioPerl) scripting, so that was my first introduction to the Perl ecosystem. I have since left the Bioinformatics space and now work as a Senior Data Engineer in the cybersecurity industry, where my day job consists of mostly Scala and Spark.

Mohammad: How/When did you start using Raku?

Aaron: I first got introduced to Raku (then known as Perl 6) in 2017. I was browsing through a resource called Exercism, which aids in learning new programming languages. Since I already knew Perl 5, I wanted to see what Raku was all about.

Mohammad: How did you come to know about The Weekly Challenge?

Aaron: I saw a blog post on the Raku subreddit that was about The Weekly Challenge and wanted to see what it was about.

Mohammad: What do you like the most about The Weekly Challenge?

Aaron: I have no place to use Raku outside of The Weekly Challenge. I have a nine-month-old, so personal project are few and far between, and there hasn’t been a professional use case (yet) where I have been able to use Raku. So it’s nice to have something to be able to flex those muscles every week.

Mohammad: How much time you dedicate every week to The Weekly Challenge?

Aaron: Probably about an hour or two; I am only able to look at it on the weekends during my son’s nap! Most of that time is just writing and formatting my blog.

Mohammad: Do you checkout others solutions and who is your favorite?

Aaron: I checkout the ones that are posted on the Raku subreddit. Generally that ends up being Arne Sommer and Laurent Rosenfeld, so I guess they are my favorites!

Mohammad: What do you suggest someone just started The Weekly Challenge?

Aaron: Just hop in and have fun! If you find the challenges too difficult, there is a fairly large community willing to help. If you find them too easy, you can always set your own challenges – maybe try a new language or programming paradigm to add some difficulty?

Mohammad: Anything else you would to like to share with us?

Aaron: Just a big thank you for putting all of this together week after week; it has been a lot of fun to be part of the community!

That brings the end of the conversation with Aaron Smith. Please do let us know your view. We will come back next month with another champion.


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