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Staff Feature: Luke Butler

Luke Butler is the definition of a self-starter. When he comes across a challenge, Luke forges a new path. During Luke’s time as a homeschool student he knew that he was interested in computers, but he wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to do. Luke thought that programming sounded hard, so as a teenager, he started teaching himself basic programming. By the time he was 14 or 15, Luke was building websites for smaller organizations and non-profits from his home. “I was mostly doing it as a favor,” Luke says of the time, “It was a good opportunity to explore.”

Luke’s first salaried job was at Walkersville Christian Family Schools – a homeschool organization. Luke vividly remembers one afternoon shortly after starting the job – the head of the IT department took an hour to show Luke some PHP programming – it was a whole new world for Luke. He dove headfirst into mastering PHP.

A few months later the head of the IT left the company, leaving Luke was in charge of managing the website. The site was necessary to the organization’s operation; students and teachers would input records, quarterly reports, essays, exams, etc. However, it had a bad reputation – the whole system would go down almost every week. Luke’s job was to get it back up and running. Faced with an inefficient product, Luke took it upon himself to provide a solution. Although he was still young and new to the programming world, Luke wrote a whole new system from scratch. When he presented it to the Board of Directors, they were hesitant to use a system created by someone so young, but from the day it launched until Luke left the job, it didn’t crash again.

Luke and co-worker Alex discuss something on a computer screen

Even off the job, Luke is looking for creative solutions to programming problems. When prompted, Luke tells the story of his frustration with one of his favorite restaurants – Chipotle. “I had been waiting for years for an Android version of the Chipotle app,” says Luke. “They kept saying it was coming, but they would never release it. I finally just decided to make one myself.” During his off-hours from Walkersville Christian Family Schools, Luke got to work on his rogue Chipotle app. Creating an interface between his app and the Chipotle servers, Luke made it possible to create requests for Chipotle orders on behalf of users. “It was very challenging,” Luke continues, “It was way above my skill level at the time, but I figured it out. It was so satisfying to release it and get positive user feedback though.” About a year later, Chipotle released the official Android version of the app and Luke took his down.

“My job appears pretty boring to everyone except me,” Luke explained when describing why he enjoys programming. Behind the complicated codes, Luke finds programming gratifying. “It’s really enjoyable because you get to see the fruits of your labor really quickly. Even if you don’t have a finished product yet, you can write something up and see it in action right away.” Luke also explained that although it may not look like a creative job from the outside, he finds his work to be very creative; it gives him the chance to be innovative, even when he’s writing a code that no one else will ever see.

Luke says that his time at HighRock has been some of the most fruitful in his programming career. He’s gotten the chance to work with different programming languages; he’s picked up dozens since he started. Recently, Luke has been enjoying working with the 3D team to create VR experience spaces on the web. He’s also excited to delve into some newer platforms like Drupal 8. Luke says that programming at HighRock is enjoyable because he’s working with other people who have the drive create and finish a polished final product that looks as good as it felt to create.