By Alisabeth Soto
We are excited to feature Chris Sean for our first HHKB Spotlight interview! Chris is a top-notch developer, keyboard enthusiast, and social media star. Today, we will learn about his background, his daily schedule, and his take on the Happy Hacking Keyboard (HHKB)!
We think that Chris is truly an inspiration to the keyboard community and provides exceptional advice to fellow developers and programmers and anybody with their dreams. Let’s get started!
HHKB team: First of all, please describe yourself in a few sentences.
Chris: I am a college dropout and a self-taught front-end developer. I am also a content creator for my social media channels. Prior to learning to code, I lived in a car for 3-4 months during the summer. I am a 32-year-old Filipino, born and grew up in San Francisco, California. I currently live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I started learning code at age 26 and got my first job before I turned 27.
HHKB: What are your favorite hobbies?
Chris: My favorite hobbies are biking and working on my side hustle. It used to be gaming, but with my busy schedule, I had to completely cut it out in order to be more productive on this small business that I’m building.
HHKB: What got you interested in programming?
Chris: This YouTube video by Code.org is the reason why I began programming. About 4-5 years ago, I was living paycheck to paycheck without knowing how I would be able to afford my next meal. I tried school, but I just had no interest in it. I tried a vocational school to become an electrical engineer, but I was horrible at taking tests, so I didn’t get in. Then, I saw the video. It explained how programming is much easier than what many people realize. Literally after watching this video, I researched online courses and got my first job in just 3 months.
HHKB: What are your work hours/daily schedule?
Chris: I honestly don’t have a set work schedule. The great thing with this new job I just got (3 weeks ago) is that they pretty much gave me free reign to do whatever I want. As long as I get my job done, they’re happy. I generally work 30-40 hours a week.
If I was to give my schedule, it would look like this:
5am-7:30am: I generally warm up, bike for a few miles and feed my dogs.
7:30-10am: After showering, I usually use these 90 minutes to work/think of content for all of the platforms I’m on (YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and my new podcast that I just started).
10am-5pm: This is when it gets weird. Some developers usually have tickets to work on which usually help them determine what to work on in the day. But for me, I wear a lot of hats. Because I’m given so much freedom, I’m usually the one that determines what to work on that day. If I don’t receive any emails to work on any urgent matters, I’ll either work on redesigning an old web app for the marketing team. The best part about this job though is the fact that the CEO has allowed me to film every step of this job for my YouTube channel. Ironically enough, this is the very same company that allowed me to film my journey as a junior developer 4 years ago. Those videos helped jump start on my YouTube career.
5pm-10pm: This is when my favorite work begins! If I’m not catching up on my favorite Korean Drama episodes, I’m editing my next vlog or building my side hustle called developer branded. To be honest, this is my favorite part of the day. Being able to film my journey not only as a developer, but also documenting my journey as an entrepreneur has been really fun for me. It’s great not only being able to share my success, but even my failures as a developer tries to build his own company.
HHKB: What are your must-have items during your workday?
Chris: My must haves are these three:
HHKB: What is your favorite programming language and why?
HHKB: What are the biggest challenges of being a developer?
Chris: The biggest challenge every developer faces is self-doubt. A lot of people (especially when filming my journey as a junior developer on YouTube) have told me that I wasn’t a really programmer. That I couldn’t do it. That I was fake and a hypocrite because I did not always know what I was talking about (Hence I was a junior at the time). The only reason I almost gave up code and almost returned to my old life was because I allowed myself to believe that I couldn’t do it. When it comes to getting a job in this amazing industry, there is one thing that every aspiring and current developer needs to remember.
“You are better than you realize.” This is the very thing that the CTO at my last job told me on almost a weekly basis. I always doubted myself. Even after 3 years as developer, I still questioned if I was good enough.
“Everyone is better than you realize. Stop comparing yourself to others. Be you. Be your best. Do your best.” – Chris Sean
Chris’ Take On The HHKB
HHKB: What was your first impression on the HHKB?
Chris: To be honest, it took me about 1-2 weeks to get accustomed to this keyboard. Especially because my first HHKB was the wire white keyless version. haha. I had no idea what I was typing on half the time, so I relied on a photo of where the keys were for a while. But after 1-2 weeks, I couldn’t go back. Other companies actually sent me some keyboards after I released my HHKB review video on YouTube, but nothing compared to the ease of typing on an HHKB. Even more than that, the hype that comes with it. All of the developers at work and even quite a few of my friends were pretty jealous that I had one. Yes, they can be pricey, but to be honest, they are worth it. I’ve been using an HHKB for 2 years and I never looked back.
HHKB: Do you see any room for improvements on the HHKB?
Chris: I just wish the HHKB Professional Hybrid model was rechargeable, but I really don’t mind needing to change out the battery since this seems to have a 4 to 5 month battery life.
HHKB: Favorite part about the HHKB?
Chris: As of today, the HHKB Professional Hybrid Type-S is what I use today. And to be honest, just the fact that it is not only mechanical, but also wireless?!? This won me over immediately. I do miss my white no-stamp HHKB because that’s what I started with. However, the convenience that the Hybrid model brings is invaluable.
It was easy to switch using this between both my PC and my MacBook Pro. Even more than that, the battery life is absolutely amazing. I believe my keyboard lasted me 4 months before I had to change the battery out.
Thank you, Chris for sharing your experiences and your words of wisdom. We love that you have such an exciting career journey and you enjoy every second of it!
Next week, we will share part 2 of Chris Sean’s journey including the path to becoming a developer, tips and tricks, and how the programming world has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned!