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The Webby Awards Talent Spotlight: Mark Smith


Introducing Vitamin T super talent, Mark Smith. Based out of San Jose, California, Mark is a former professional hockey player who taught himself front-end development. We caught up with Mark recently and chatted about his current job and what drew him to the world of Web development.

Pro Athlete to Career Coder
The Canadian native grew up on a farm, honing his hockey skills until it brought him to the world’s highest tier of professional competition for the game: the NHL. He spent the majority of 7 seasons with the San Jose Sharks with a brief stint up in Calgary with the Flames before retiring in 2009. Though hockey’s a tough and technical game, making the pivot to Web development is itself a remarkable move.

Self-Taught Developer
Yet, the industrious athlete taught himself front-end development in his retirement (as well as formed a band The Vinyl Trees and the Lunar Records music label). “I find learning a necessity rather than a skill,” he told us. In his short time coding, Mark is proficient in a score of languages, including: HTML5, CSS3, php, mySQL, javascript, jQuery, Objective-C, ajax, JSON, XML, Xcode. Which is to say nothing of his expertise with Facebook, Twitter and Google Maps API integrations as well as Foundation and Bootstrap frameworks.

Mark Smith Playing Music

Family First
While living in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Mark first applied his programming prowess to design and build a responsive point of sale system and CMS for his wife’s jewelry and fashion boutique, Ayla Clothing Co. The store, named after his daughter, similarly inspired Mark to try his hand at mobile app development. The result was “Listen to the World,” a sight and sound early-learning game for children; available for free. A self-described “technical poet bridging the gap between beauty and functionality,” Mark connected with Vitamin T to land his first corporate gig where he works in the marketing department of a premier incident resolution service for IT Ops and Dev Ops.

Son of Mark Smith

Bringing Creativity to Programming
Though it’s his first 9-5 gig, Mark enjoys how working as a web developer connects to a lifelong interest of his. Growing up in Edmonton, Canada, Mark’s childhood hero was Benjamin Franklin and Smith says he always wanted to be an inventor. He would be the first to agree that programming has allowed him to create and build things in a novel way. “What I do feeds my passion to be creative.” Vitamin T saw Mark’s talents—industriousness, curiosity, and disciplined work ethic—and helped parlay that into a new and successful career. One, albeit, with its own set of rules and values.

Per Webby Awards tradition, tell us in 5 words why you love your job.
My life is now complete.

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