Profile: Francis Ndaru, Sponsorship Developer

“I am driven by the idea of building stuff that makes a positive change in other people’s lives as well as my own, however small.”

Francis Ndaru. Photograph by Nara Kasbergen.

Where are you from originally?
Nairobi, Kenya.

What did you major in in college?
Computer Science.

When did you join NPR?
October 2015.

What are you currently working on, or what have you recently worked on?
I'm currently working on new sponsorship products for the NPR.org player. Most recently, I've worked with the Player Project scrum team to create the new persistent audio player and incorporate sponsorship.

What personally excites you about being a developer?
I'm a problem solver. I am driven by the idea of building stuff that makes a positive change in other people’s lives as well as my own, however small.

What is your favorite Serendipity Days project that you worked on?
The most recent Serendipity Days was my first ever, so it was obviously my favorite. Jeff Sank and I did a step-by-step walkthrough of the automated process of building our website code, right from when a developer commits it to deployment. It was great to learn about the inner workings of our Jenkins & Webpack setup.

I hear your team is made up of polyglots, but do you personally have a favored programming language?
PHP. Mostly because PHP and I go way back.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?
Outdoor activities away from work distractions are my go-to whenever I need to relax. When the weather is right, I go on hikes/trails, canoeing, tubing… etc. I recently brought back an old hobby dating back to my high school years: volleyball. Once or twice a week, I get together with a few friends for a game after work.

What is your favorite Tiny Desk Concert out of the ones you attended?
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and The Wild Reeds are some of my favorites.

Aside from the Tiny Desk Concerts, what are some of your favorite things about working at NPR?
I love working with some of the smartest, most creative, and most talented minds in my industry. We have a great work culture: from Serendipity Days, to Firefly Days, to work flexibility, and of course the free coffee! And how could I possibly forget to mention the happy hours! I don’t know that many places that will let you bring a 12-pack of beer to a developer retrospective.

Francis Ndaru at his desk at NPR's Washington, DC headquarters. Photograph by Nara Kasbergen.

Francis can be found on LinkedIn and tweets at @fhuntern.