The people who use our boards.

308 interviews since 2018

Juan Castillo

Software Engineer

Who are you, and what do you do? What do you like to do outside of work?

I’m a software engineer, street photography aficionado, and music listener/player. Because backend programming can feel so intangible at times, outside of work I enjoy doing things with my hands, like gardening, playing bass guitar, and building things. I got really into building keyboards, but after my Redox’s Arduino port broke, I got a ZSA Moonlander, and it really feels like my endgame. I also enjoy running, which is a great way to balance out having a job that requires so little physical activity.

Juan Castillo's setup from the right
From the furniture to the peripherals, Juan's all about the ergonomics

What hardware do you use?

Right now I use an M1 MacBook Pro, a three-year-old Dell monitor, my Moonlander, and I switch between my AirPods and a Sony WH-1000XM4 headset, depending on whether I’m working from home or working from a café (where the noise-cancelling really shines). I try to keep distractions and multitasking to a minimum, so I could never do those impressive multiscreen NASA-command-center setups I see in other folks’ profiles and on Twitter.

I have a Steelcase Gesture chair, which is super adjustable and comfortable, and an Uplift standing desk, which is super sturdy and works great to keep focus before coffee. If you wanna be an engineer for many years, you gotta pay attention to ergonomics! That’s one of the many reasons I like the Moonlander. It really helps you keep an open-shoulder posture, and you can set the tenting to whatever height works for your hands.

As for my hobbies: I’ve used a Fuji XT-3 with an f1.4 35mm Fujinon lens for the last three years. It’s black and it looks like a film camera, so no one bats an eye when I use it on the street. I hope it lasts forever.

Juan Castillo's photo of a person sunning themself on rocks
People do seem very relaxed around Juan and his camera

And what software?

Mostly VSCode, Slack, and Spotify haha. I tried the whole Emacs/Vim thing and I got to a pretty good level of productivity, but I found myself trying to troubleshoot plugins more often than I’d like. So eventually I gave up and gave in to Code. It just works, and I wanna keep my focus on writing and designing software, not on configuring my editor. Every once in a while, I’ll also fire up Lightroom to edit some pics.

Juan Castillo's photo of a person resting on a bench
Juan turns interesting images into dramatic compositions

What’s your keyboard setup like? Do you use a custom layout or custom keycaps?

I have a Moonlander with maximum tenting. Before I ordered I was on the fence about blank vs. printed keycaps. I ultimately went with the blank ones, and the boost in my WPM was noticeable. I set both sides about 30cm apart, which helps a lot with my posture.

Juan Castillo's setup
Proper keyboard positioning keeps Juan comfortable

What would be your dream setup?

Honestly, I think this is it for now. Pretty boring, I know! But I just don’t think I need professional podcaster equipment for my day-to-day tasks. The only thing I’d add would be one of those little hooks to hang my headset.

Juan Castillo's setup from above
Thanks, Juan! Bet those mechas would be happy to guard a headset stand for you

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