As a small team, nothing is more exciting and impactful than bringing on a new hire. We recently had the pleasure of doing just that with the addition of BJ Neilsen as a Senior Engineer! BJ joins us from sunny St. Augustine Florida, and has already become an integral part of our development efforts in the three short weeks since he joined the team.
Some of you may be aware that we like to write welcome posts whenever someone joins the team. This time, we decided to do it a bit differently and asked BJ to answer a few questions about himself, so you can get to know him from the source.
So, BJ, tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Utah and fell in love with the mountains and being active outdoors. My wife and I married 15+ years ago and we have 5 wonderful kids. We sold most of everything we owned in 2017 and traveled to 11 countries. Afterward we moved to Florida for a change of scenery.
I fell into software development by accident 17 years ago when the guy next to me at work started teaching me to code. I became totally obsessed with building sites and apps, and that hasn’t really worn off even to this day.
Do you have any hobbies outside of software development?
Too. Many. To. Count. I fell deeply in love with rock climbing in the Utah mountains (I have a rock wall in my garage because Florida doesn’t have any cliffs to speak of). I love travel, hiking, camping, playing soccer, rooting for Real Salt Lake, building and playing guitars, playing piano, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, Taekwondo, riding motorcycles, attending musical theater, learning new programming languages, and on and on.
Can you share some of the what and why of your career so far?
I love building products that provide real value to people, something that solves a fundamental problem in their life. I get excited about the process of software development as well, always trying to simplify the process to the most essential parts, while ensuring that the end goal is always improvement in the lives of the people using our software.
I have something inside me that pushes me to Make Things™. I have so many hobbies I have to be selective about where I spend my time. In the software world I just gain so much satisfaction out of creating something useful for people to use and enjoy.
In my last role I was the Director of Engineering at Bitt, a Barbadian startup building a Central Banking Digital Minting platform backed by blockchain. Before that I was a principal engineer at Kuali, building a next-generation student enrollment platform for higher education.
Previously, I built and maintained the most popular Ruby protobuf library used by companies like MX and Square.
How would you explain your role at NuID?
I’m joining the team to iterate on the NuID platform, adding user features alongside platform improvements. We’re currently investigating ways to deeply leverage Clojure’s spec library to provide greater stability, introspection, and auditability of our platform. The potential has me so excited for NuID's future.
Hit us with some random facts about yourself.
- I once nearly lost an eye playing in the backyard. A few months after the accident the eye that wasn’t damaged changed color from green to brown. The other eye is still green like it was before. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- I once placed 3rd in a “dance competition” at a huge youth conference when I was 15. I had not ever danced before that night, and haven’t since. I was also wearing bright purple Adidas tear-away pants, so maybe that’s why the judges loved me.
- I broke my elbow because I ran over a dead cat on my road bike and crashed.
- I’ve broken my skull, elbow, collar bone, several fingers and toes, and torn my ACL.
Anything else you want to add?
It feels like an understatement to say I am so excited to join the NuID team. I’ve been so inspired by the quality of work you’ve been doing in the zero knowledge/trustless authentication space, I can’t wait to dig in!