Evergreen Community Spotlight: Mike Risher

The Evergreen Outreach Committee is pleased to announce that August’s Community Spotlight is Mike Risher. Mike is an Application Developer at Catalyte, and he brings his extensive front-end development experience to bear as a member of their Evergreen team.

Mike has been working with Evergreen for just over a year, and in that time has already authored 21 committed patches for Evergreen. Catalyte developers follow an Agile model, and staff are expected to ramp up quickly when they join a new team – rapidly learning terms and technologies for the industry their team is working with. 

Mike’s background is primarily with Java, .NET, React and vanilla Javascript, along with some AngularJS, so in his case the ramping-up involved Angular tutorials. However, Mike notes that many of these tutorials focus on ground-up builds, and are less practical when one is stepping into a large and mature software product like Evergreen.

“I found that the best way to adjust to the new environment is to jump in and do things – learn by doing,” Mike tells us. “Learning things abstractly isn’t half as valuable as jumping in and working with the existing code, as opposed to working with idealized code of a tutorial.”

Mike also draws on his general development experience to help navigate the vast Evergreen codebase. “My Linux command line experience helps me zero in on where relevant code can be found within Evergreen.”  He also comments that there are a lot of moving parts, and that there are probably few people if anyone who can know right off what parts of the codebase need adjusting for a given task. 

Mike encourages new community members to jump in and help testing and signing off on others’ work – new developers can learn more about coding for Evergreen by examining others’ work. If you’re unsure where to start, consider participating in a community Feedback Fest or Bug Squashing Week.

He recommends accessibility work as a decent starting point for those who have some front-end experience. “[Accessibility] is important work but pretty straightforward. It’s a good way to get your feet wet without jumping in the deep end,” he advises. “If you know a little front end development, like HTML and CSS, it’s not that hard to get in and start using the aria tags.”

Mike leaves us with the following thought: “In general, I feel like people in the Evergreen community are really friendly and welcoming, so I’d say in closing, don’t be shy to reach out. You won’t regret it. People are quite nice.”

Do you know someone in the community who deserves a bit of extra recognition? Please use this form to submit your nominations. We ask for your email in case we have any questions, but all nominations will be kept confidential.

Any questions can be directed to Andrea Buntz Neiman via abneiman@equinoxinitiative.org or abneiman in IRC.