Talent Spotlight on Rhia Bucklin, Front End Developer

Talent Spotlight is a monthly feature profiling the employees of UpTop. See the Talent Spotlight archive for more profiles.

What is your role at UpTop and what projects do you work on?

I’m the Front End Development Lead at UpTop. In my work, my skills and interests tend toward the design side, with an emphasis on directly translating visuals into pages and apps that look good and are easy to use.

The “lead” part is new for me, so I’m still learning what it means to build and bring together a cohesive team. I hope to encourage people to expand their range of proficiencies to create positive user experiences.

When did you first know you wanted to work in this field?

I started my college career thinking I wanted to focus on writing, but I took a class my first year that introduced me to the idea of connecting technology and the internet with art, humanities and cognition. It was the first time I’d considered computers as something beyond a vocational skill. From there, I continued my education by focusing on the connections between technology, art and computer science.

What are some of your previous career paths?

Just before I started working at UpTop (then, Peak Systems), I was a cook in a gourmet vegan restaurant in Seattle. I loved the food, the strong personalities, techniques, and the secrets that were told in the walk-in.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Seattle, and just north of here in Lake Forest Park. Over the years, I’ve lived in a few other places, but nothing compares to being able to look out the window and see the water, trees and snowy mountains that surround Seattle.

What is your favorite app right now?

IFTTTBusMe, and Diptic PDQ.

What is your favorite restaurant or coffee spot in Seattle?

Monorail Espresso is a tiny, outdoor, walkup coffee stand in downtown Seattle. They’ve been around since 1980, only take cash, know their Game of Thrones, and the coffee is fantastic.

Tell me something that people might not know about you.

I’ve never played sports, but I’ve done ballet since I was a child. Twice a week, I still take a class at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

What other special skills or interests do you have?

I love houses, building and construction. My dad worked as a general contractor, so I basically grew up on one construction site or another. I’ve seen just about every episode of This Old House, and can’t walk through a building without tapping the walls, noticing crooked trim or critiquing uneven tile jobs.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Gin & tonics. A negroni if I’m feeling fancy.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Definitely coming up with the idea for Diptic (our photo collage app), watching it get built, and seeing what people do with it in the wild. When I was in San Francisco at an iPhoneography conference in 2010, one of the speakers used it on stage in a demonstration. No one knew I was there, but I felt so famous and so proud!