ShipEngineer Spotlight: Ben Childs

What is your role at ShipEngine?

I’m the primary engineer for the ShipEngine dashboard. While I contribute to the API as well, I find the most pleasure in making a pleasing UI that feels clean and snappy.

What does your typical work day look like? 

My day generally starts out with looking at ways to improve the underlying structure of our UI applications — whether by making the code cleaner or more extensible, fixing bugs, or improving performance and reliability in how data is handled. The rest of my day is usually devoted to working on new features that will empower our customers with new capabilities.

How long have you been working on ShipEngine?

I was originally referred by a friend who works on the team, and have been here for a little over two years now.

How did you get into this type of work?

I completed my degree in Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt, but quickly figured out I much preferred tech startups to a classic engineering path.

I attended a coding bootcamp in Austin (HackReactor, now Galvanize) and learned the basics of working with JavaScript to build web applications. After joining ShipEngine, I quickly figured out how C# and other object-oriented languages worked.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation. Walking takes so long and traffic in Austin is terrible.

Benjamin Childs rock climbing in his free time

How do you spend your free time?

I go bouldering twice a week at one of the local rock climbing gyms, enjoy creating D&D worlds and running game nights with my friends, and relax with the occasional puzzle or platforming video game.

Dogs are also fun and mine is super adorable — absolutely the sweetest creature on Earth. My wife would agree that she’s a close second, though.

What tech do you get to work with?

I generally work with VSCode, playing with ReactJS, and other javascript libraries. Sometimes I need to work with the API though, and for that we use Microsoft’s C# language.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m quick on my feet and creative at D&D and other improv-style worldbuilding games, which I found I enjoyed leading when one of my friends introduced me to the genre after college

What’s one feature of ShipEngine you want more users to discover?

We have a sandbox environment for working with test accounts for several carriers, so you can see what interacting with UPS, FedEx, and other carriers is like without needing to set up your own account. We’re only increasing the number of carriers you can test against, too! 

What is one of your proudest achievements? 

I went from only knowing some coding basics to being able to build a fully-functional, standalone web app in only 3 months.

What are you most excited about when it comes to the future of ShipEngine? 

I’m looking forward to the big changes we have planned for the dashboard, as our partnerships and capabilities continue to expand!

Ben Childs, his wife, and their dog, Lizzie.

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