Hey, I'm J.D. Hillen.
I'm an developer, designer and speaker from Kansas City. I've been building for the web for almost 25 years now.
I fell in love with web development when I was a freshman in high school. I signed up for a QBasic coding class and instantly fell in love. The next year, I signed up for 6 straight hours of computer classes. With one hour of weights thrown in there just for fun. A short time later I discovered a little application called Flash. Oh it was an amazing tool. You could build web sites, applications, animations, video, anything your heart desired! I would spend hours at night learning and animating dumb cartoons for me and my friends. I knew, from that moment on, what I wanted to do with my life.
Durning my senior year I decided that I not only wanted to code, but I wanted to learn how to design for the web as well. This lead me to the Art department at Kansas State University. The school was very graphic design and advertising heavy with their curriculum. And while I did learn a lot, I learned even more about typography, color theory and layout design from working at a local sign shop in between classes. My computer science roommates helped out too.
I love building rich, interactive web sites that give the user an experience. Not just words on a page with a pretty font. This love allowed me to work in a variety of fields for the last 20 years. Including marketing, advertising and even the craft beer industry. Most recently I am a Software Engineer at gps and wearables company, Garmin.
In the last few years, I have gotten into public speaking. I got the chance to speak at a local community event and had an amazing experience. So I figured, what the hell? Let's see if I can turn this into a thing. Sure enough, I've been giving talks on Vue related topics at national conferences since early 2021.
With my boys being involved in so many activities, I don't have much time for hobbies these days. But I am a die hard Law & Order fan. I've seen every episode of every series ever released. What did you do during the pandemic? When the mood strikes me I also like playing guitar and writing music with friends.
I live in Olathe, KS which is a suburb of Kansas City with my wife Kari and my two boys Logan and Luke. When I'm not at a baseball field or a scouting event, you can find me in the pit of a metal show!