Meet The Team: Leon Chisholm, Frontend Developer
April 21, 2023
Tell us a little about yourself, Leon!
As a kid in St. John’s, I spent the weekends playing in boxes of styrofoam peanuts at my dad’s shop on Hallett Cres — just a few doors down from where CoLab would open their first office many years later. I grew up watching Video Hits on CBC and listening to a wide variety of music, from Tiffany to Bach to Dhrupad. This early fascination with music propelled me into a 20-year career as an organist and musicologist. I’ve worked in some amazing places, like the Deutsches Museum in Munich, the world’s largest museum for science and technology. Apart from music, I’m really into coffee, neon signs, and (thanks to my time in Germany) experience showers. I also like listening to the news in German, Italian, and French.
How did you first get into software development?
Early on during my time as a grad student in music at the University of California, Berkeley, I became interested in corpus analysis. I learned just enough Unix and AWK scripting to use an early set of computational tools for music analysis known as the Humdrum Toolkit. I also took an elective course in computer science that focused on a language called Scheme, which is a dialect of Lisp. My PhD research ended up going in a different direction, so for a long time I viewed this brief foray into coding as a cul-de-sac. I spent another 13 years working in music research. But in 2020, I decided to move back to St. John’s and explore alternative career paths. An old friend who works at Verafin encouraged me to try software development, so I took a year to retrain. Then in January 2022 I landed my first job as a developer — at CoLab! — and haven’t looked back!
Why did you first join CoLab? What’s the most exciting thing about working here?
I’d heard great things about CoLab’s culture from two old friends who were working there, Alex/Bob and Anna. And now I can also attest that the team is indeed truly special! I’m also really excited about the product. In my career as a musicologist, I worked on the history of disruptive technologies. Now, I actually get to spend my days helping to build a tool that is revolutionizing the engineering design process. It’s pretty wild!
If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
I’ve never had a penchant for watersports, but when in Rome, right?! So I’d probably want a windsurfer or paddleboard to make the most of the water. And a new musical instrument to learn for some merrymaking. Probably a hurdy-gurdy, because why not?