15 Developers to Follow If You Want to Work in Media

By: Fullstack Staff

Who remembers the days when you waited eagerly for the latest release in your Netflix queue to arrive….by mail? What about when we didn’t have constant access to global news at the touch of a button?

The internet has totally transformed the way media companies operate and deliver content to consumers.

The vast majority of people no longer head to the newsstand to catch up on current affairs; people simply grab their devices and catch up online. People don’t physically rent movies; they stream them. Virtually every traditional media company that has survived the upheaval now has an online presence, and new media companies arise daily.

There is a world of opportunities for developers who want to join the revolution. If you think a career in media might be for you, check out these 15 developers paving the way and changing the way the industry operates.

Chris Amico

USA Today’s Chris Amico is a journalist and developer with a true nose for news. “I have a talent for dissecting large organizations: businesses, non-profits, websites, bureaucracy,” Amico says. “Anything with people and moving parts. I like to see how it works and explain it in a way that makes sense.” What’s more, he’s as comfortable diagramming those organizations in Python as he is describing them in English.

Jeremy Ashkenas

Well-known in the developer community, Jeremy Ashkenas wrote a couple of programming languages and created the Underscore.js JavaScript library. (No big deal, right?) He was a major part of The New York Times’s graphic department for several years, though he’s since joined the team at Observable. Follow Ashkenas for deep insights into both the worlds of programming and news media.

Josh Begley

Josh Begley is a reporter, filmmaker, and app developer whose tools have been used by some of the biggest news publications in the English-speaking world. This includes Dronestream, an app that sends users a push notification any time a military drone strike gets reported. Begley’s Twitter feed is worth a follow simply for the inspiration—he always finds the best examples of visual journalism published anywhere.

Federico Cargnelutti

Federico Cargnelutti is a London-based software engineer and consultant who has worked with some of the biggest media companies in the world, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Time Inc., and Discovery, Inc. His work includes the creation of a string of impressive products, including the BBC’s responsive website. Cargnelutti offers insightful, if slightly infrequent, tweets about coding and the tech industry, and maintains a personal blog on his website.

TV with logo for Netflix, a place a dev could work in media

Sophia Ciocca

Sophia Ciocca graduated from Fullstack Academy’s Grace Hopper Program in 2017 and landed a job as a software engineer at The New York Times in just seven weeks. Her Medium blog offers a first-person perspective on what it’s like to enroll in and graduate from a coding bootcamp (a must-read for any aspiring coder). Her Times Open piece on building a digital text editor for newsrooms also offers readers insight into what it’s like to be a developer at one of the largest news publications on the planet.

Charlie Gerard

Charlie Gerard is an inspiration to anyone looking to switch careers to focus on programming. After starting off in marketing and advertising, Gerard decided she would prefer to focus on her passion for tech. She built her skills quickly, and that translated into a creative developer role at The New York Times’s London office. Today, she develops software for ThoughtWorks, a global technology consultancy using software development to drive social good, from the company’s Sydney offices.

Jafar Husain

Jafar Husain has had several media-related development roles. He was a technical lead at Netflix and now works as an engineer at Facebook. Like many of the other developers on this list, Husain is an open source advocate and contributor, and a regular speaker at several tech conferences.

Jason Kneen

Jason Kneen is a freelance cross-platform app developer who has worked with some of the biggest media brands in the UK, including ITV and UKTV. When not developing apps for clients, Kneen can be found hosting not one but two tech podcasts: The Checked Shirt and Titanium Talk Podcast.

Arpit Mathur

Arpit Mathur is a principal software engineer at Comcast, an open-source enthusiast, a conference speaker, and one of Philadelphia’s 10 Tech Disruptors of 2017. Mathur’s current role finds him working on Comcast’s augmented and virtual reality offerings, as well as on blockchain and the decentralized internet. It was as an open-source evangelist that Mathur co-founded the Philadelphia Google Developers Group, which he has helped to run since 2011.

Joe Murphy

Now a data editor at NBC News, developer and reporter Joe Murphy understands how to translate current events into compelling digital content. Take, for instance, the interactive “Graveyard of Overdoses” story he did for New York Daily News. Built with custom JavaScript, the piece demonstrates just how devastating America’s opioid problem can be for an individual community.

Man at laptop, representing a way one might work in media

Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy is a visuals editor at The Texas Tribune, where he’s most recently been using his skills to report on the detention of asylum-seekers, particularly children, in his state. For the 2018 midterms, he also helped create some of the best interactive election graphics published anywhere.

John Papa

John Papa was a principal technical architect at The Walt Disney Company and is now a principal developer advocate at Microsoft. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his work history, Papa describes himself as a Disney fanatic. Other things he is clearly fanatical about: front-end development and sharing his knowledge at conferences and training events around the world.

Kavya Sukumar

Vox data journalist Kavya Sukumar has the perfect role for those would-be developers who feel at home in a busy newsroom. Sukumar uses her programming skills to tell digital stories and create tools for other journalists: Just take a look at this speech the current US President made to Congress in February 2017. It was annotated and fact-checked by reporters in real time–and Sukumar was the one who built the software and workflows that made such a feat possible.

Gina Trapani

Gina Trapani is a managing partner at Postlight, where she creates web and mobile applications for some of the biggest news and entertainment brands. As if that weren’t enough to keep her busy, she also started her own media brand, Lifehacker, which was later acquired by Univision. Today, in addition to her work at Postlight, Trapani runs Narrow the Gap, a site she created about the gender pay gap, and writes for a number of leading media publications.

Lucio Villa

President of the Bay Area chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Lucio Villa creates interactive content for the San Francisco Chronicle. Over the past few years, Villa’s work has been instrumental in the Chronicle’s wildfire reporting: He developed a real-time wildfire tracker and designed this visual firestorm timeline.

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Images by: Igor Miske, freestocks.org, Wes Hicks

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