illustrations illustrations illustrations illustrations illustrations illustrations

Since I was a child in Hartford, Wisconsin; I’ve been intrigued in art. I used to draw on the walls with markers and want to touch any computer I could see. My parents realized that I had a knack for drawing also which is why I didn’t really get much in trouble for drawing on the walls, and they were very supportive of me drawing all the time, so I just never really stopped even to this day. It keeps me thinking and helps me let out ideas in a visualized format.

Even though I draw a hefty amount, I had plenty of other interests too throughout the course of my life. I first wanted to become an architect which makes sense since I like to draw. I liked designing and laying out the framework of what could be a physical object. It’s the craziest and neatest things that were the limit of what I could design which I liked. After that though I turned into wanting to become a musician, specifically a percussionist. This was a bit far fetched for me, but I really enjoyed band class and playing the drums. I really wanted to just make music and play it like Ringo Starr from the Beatles. Although I found something that I found a bit more interesting, which was cartooning. I was enthralled with watching cartoons and learning to draw the characters from them. I was able to draw them well enough that I could impress my peers in school and the teachers as well. So far as to get some of my first commission work, drawing famous actors/actresses, and musicians in the style of a cartoon.

Not too much longer though in school year 2015-2016; My friend Adam would want to create a website with me. A website where we could combine our creativity and knowledge to make a simple Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock game. He forced me to take an online course for JavaScript in a way, so I could help out on the back-end side of the website. After just twiddling around with a Codecademy course I was instantly hooked. I would later go on a field trip to Northwestern Mutual to see their Franklin campus the next year in November 2016. After seeing their campus I was so surprised how fun the environment could be at a tech focused company. There were so many nice folk and all of them were just as interested in learning new tech as I am. After the field trip, needless to say I applied for an internship for that year’s summer. I was sick of working at McDonald’s and just wanted to put my creativity and eagerness to learn to use.

After a few months of waiting I got the call back from Northwestern Mutual and immediately put my two week notice in for McDonald’s. I was ecstatic and ready to put all my effort into learning to program. It was the first actual lead toward something I could pursue and enjoy. Fast forward one year into the internship and I begin work on a new team, TRAMS. Working in a Golang stack with a focus on using new technologies and had the most extraordinary people working in the team. Since I’ve joined this team, I’ve gotten to know plenty of people and learned so much about programming, solution design, and plenty of technologies and methodologies that are definitely not taught in college. The most valuable type of education in my eyes is the kind that you get from experience. It blows my mind how far I’ve come in such a short span of time. I’m now a full-time employee Software Engineer with no degree and proud of that fact.


Damien Stamates

Work Process


Research and Plan

New technologies and environments are fun to learn. This step is the most important for understanding of what is wanted out of a product.


Design and Develop

Design and development are my personal favorite steps. Development using Agile/Scrum. For independent projects I use simple Kanban though.



Continuous deployment and delivery is important so what is desired is achieved. With frequent sprint reviews and friendly criticism.