Sam Keer: Elixir and Javascript Developer, Boxer, Nature Enthusiast

Who is Sam Keer? 

Sam Keer is a software engineer who works with Elixir, Javascript, Ruby, and a dash of C#. Originally from Redwood City, California, he grew up enjoying the beautiful nature, diverse food culture, and amazing people of the Bay Area. It was there that he first developed an interest in coding: a friend taught him about bitcoin mining and scripting. He currently lives in New Orleans with his girlfriend Jenna and two cats, Monty and Jojo.

 

What did you study in school?

I moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to attend LSU’s History program with the long-term goal of attending law school. After a couple of years at LSU, I decided that the University of New Orleans was a better fit for me. At UNO, I enjoyed studying modern history, the effects of neocolonialism on government and socioeconomics, and participating in historical debate.  One of the most important lessons the traditional education system has taught me is that through careful research, reliable sources and sometimes just knowing what to google, the internet holds the answer to almost any question. I’d like to emphasize that critical thinking is still key, however; raw facts aren’t very useful if they can’t be applied.

 

How did you get into software development?

I’ve been interested in coding since I can remember, but I was reintroduced to coding during my last year of college and decided to pursue software engineering as a career. A Revelry employee and excellent person, Robert Prehn, came to speak to a group of aspiring software developers, including myself, and laid out the “Revelry Way”.

He spoke of a process that emphasized being good to one another before all else, destroying bullshit, neutralizing blockers through any means necessary, investing in employee education, and ultimately pumping out the gold standard for code. It also stood out that software engineers at Revelry would be encouraged to take part in decision making, and that regardless of seniority, suggestions would always be welcome. The nurturing environment drove me to apply here.

 

Why Revelry?

Revelry is a special place to work: there’s camaraderie, there’s an emphasis on education, people are genuinely kind to one another, and employees are encouraged to take part in decision making. I would feel comfortable talking to a coworker I’ve never spoken to before and have confidence they would be willing to help in any way they could if I needed it. We may work on separate teams, but we’re one big team at the end of the day.

 

Who are some of your inspirations?

Personally, my father, Harold Keer, has a work ethic rivaled by few. He’s a medical oncologist who volunteers frequently to help his community and is always there for his family. My grandfather, Leon Keer, who recently passed away, was similar to my father in many ways. He alongside my Grandma managed to raise four successful children, while rising to one of the highest levels of prominence in the field of theoretical engineering, teaching at Northwestern until very late in his life. Almost every time we spoke, he emphasized that if you’re going to do something at all, you need to do it right. This has stuck with me, and I hope to pass this knowledge onto others by example.

Professionally, my coach at Revelry, Brian, inspires me with his collected, systematic approach to problem-solving with an emphasis on using as many helpful tools as possible. He’s also one of the people that many other Revelers seem comfortable going to when they have questions that research might not be answered clearly, which is something I aspire to be.

 

What do you do when you’re not coding?

I love to hike and climb mountains. My long-term backpacking goals include backpacking the Colorado Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and peak bagging some 14’ers.

In my spare time, I box. I love the discipline, the training, the adrenaline and the game of chess I play every time I get in the ring. There’s a definite overlap between boxing and coding, such as the need to remain calm and disciplined, to adapt to constantly changing situations and the need to never give up regardless of how daunting a task might seem. I train daily at the Broad Street Gym in Central City, New Orleans.

 

What are your software development goals?

My software development goals are to expand my knowledge of system design and to learn and create ways to organize code more efficiently and in a coder-friendly, scalable manner. We write code to provide solutions to customers, but we write code for software engineers. That’s what clean code looks like to me. It’s important to be good to others by writing code that people can look at a day from now, or a year from now, and be able to pick up where the author stopped.

 

What is your main goal at Revelry?

The Revelry Process has helped me grow in many ways as a software developer and as a human. My favorite core value is “Be Excellent to One Another” and I strive to stand by it every day. My main goal at Revelry is to be one of the people that everyone feels comfortable going to when they need help.

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