Douglas Knight is a software engineer from Boston, Massachusetts. He currently works in Silicon Valley. With a wealth of experience in coding and building proprietary software, he is one of the top experts in his field. Douglas Knight is particularly interested in teaching a younger generation how to code and how to write their own programs.
Douglas Knight, New Canaan resident, volunteers as a speaker and runs programming seminars for high school students. His view on teaching students to code is that young people have progressive ideas. He believes they should be encouraged to take up coding before college and to share their entrepreneurial ideas with the world. Douglas also writes mobile games on the side.
What is your hobby?
My hobby is woodworking. I’ve made lots of furniture for my home and have started giving it away to friends. I recently made a bookshelf in my living room.
How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?
Late one night, I couldn’t sleep, and I became fascinated with an episode of This Old House. It reminded me of my childhood living in old houses in New England. I enjoyed watching the project come together. I decided I would try my hand as a furniture maker.
Tell us what you love about it.
I love it because it’s hands-on and gets me away from the computer screen. As much as I love to code, it’s essential to keep from living your entire life on the computer. Being too sedentary is not healthy. I enjoy working with my hands and having a project move from plans on paper to a piece of furniture that is functional and looks good in a home.
Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?
Not really. Woodworking is a kind of meditation for me. I love being around people and teaching coding, but I also really enjoy having quiet time to myself. I do occasionally attend an exhibit or a woodworking show. It would be cool to find some fellow software engineers who like to do woodworking on the weekends. You’ve inspired me to ask around.
Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.
My garage is full of woodworking stuff. I recently moved to a house with a two car garage so I would have somewhere to put my car. I have a vast collection of tools and supplies. Most recently, I bought a new router so I could engrave letters on a chair that I made for my girlfriend. She puts up with a lot from me, and I thought her patio could use some comfortable seating.
Where do you buy most of your supplies?
Honestly, I get most of it at the home improvement store. I love to go in there at night and browse the aisles when there’s hardly anyone around. It’s like a toy store for adults. They have gotten to know me very well by now. I also love the Rockler web site and catalog. They have a lot of high-quality woodworking equipment that the big stores don’t carry.
Are there any good books for beginners?
I recommend Woodworking Basics by Peter Korn. This is the book that got me started. I like how he teaches both skills with power tools and traditional hand tools.
How has this changed your life?
Since I started woodworking, I have been a calmer person. I don’t do as much gaming on the weekends, which my girlfriend appreciates. I feel like I’ve gotten a new perspective on planning projects that has carried over to my work in coding.
What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
Don’t buy too much equipment at first. You might end up with all kinds of things you don’t need. Start with what you need for your first project and go from there. Buying items as you go helps you sensibly build your collection.
Are there any other hobbies you have?
I also love to run and play the trombone. I ran a half-marathon a few months ago. Running helps keep me in shape, and it’s also an opportunity for me to think without the constant distractions from texts and emails.
Playing the trombone is something I’ve done since I was in fifth grade. I took a few years off from it after college because I didn’t have a good instrument. After I became more successful with my career, I invested in a professional quality instrument. I started retaking lessons for the first time since college.
I recently joined a brass ensemble, and we play shows locally. Playing in a group is a lot like working in a team of programmers. Everyone has their own role to play. I would recommend music to anyone who works in programming. It’s relaxing and challenging at the same time.