Profile: Stephen Thompson, Senior Web Developer

I’m excited when I can bridge systems and bring out all of the information people are looking for.

Stephen Thompson. Photograph by Nara Kasbergen.

Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Annandale, VA, a suburb of Washington, DC.

What did you major in in college?
I got a BA in Government from Wesleyan University since the university is too cool to call it political science. I also spent several years pursuing a master’s degree in public policy at George Mason University but I left without the degree.

When did you join NPR?
June 2014.

What are you currently working on, or what have you recently worked on?
I've mostly worked on npr.org since I joined NPR with some jaunts into other projects. On the web site, there was the NPR Music responsive redesign, the embedded audio player, and over a year on the team that launched the new persistent player. My teammates and I enjoyed great successes with the web site!

I recently joined a different team that's working on improving the publishing process for our digital content. It’s a nice follow up from my work last year revamping our podcast publishing process.

What personally excites you about being a developer?
I love solving problems at larger scales. There are so many systems, sources of data, and pieces of content out there to utilize. I’m excited when I can bridge systems and bring out all of the information people are looking for.

There are a lot of people consuming NPR’s digital content in many different ways. I really enjoy the challenge of bringing this awesome content to people reliably.

What is your favorite Serendipity Days project that you worked on?
I joined a team that worked on data mining the distinguishing characteristics of NPR listeners based on their OkCupid profiles. It turns out that I’m a typical NPR fan in my enjoyment of ampersands.

I hear your team is made up of polyglots, but do you personally have a favored programming language?
I use PHP, Java, and JavaScript at work, but I'm a huge fan of Python! It keeps getting better. I’m really looking forward to learning Rust.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy doing crosswords; riding bicycles; and cooking and baking for others. I'm also an avid reader of history, science, and economics books.

What is your favorite Tiny Desk Concert out of the ones you attended?
T-Pain for the cred, Paolo Angeli for the spectacle. I was so spellbound that a coworker had to yank me to a meeting I was missing.

Aside from the Tiny Desk Concerts, what are some of your favorite things about working at NPR?
Everyone who works here is extremely supportive of each other’s personal and professional goals. Even when people have strong opinions, they’re willing to be wrong.

I also “enjoy” getting Stephen Thompson’s e-mail.

Stephen Thompson at work in one of the scrum spaces at NPR's Washington, DC headquarters. Photograph by Nara Kasbergen.

Stephen can be found on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. He is not to be confused with @idislikestephen, the other Stephen Thompson.