Mark Heiman, Web applications developer, has seen Carleton’s Web server grow from the ground up. When he graduated from Carleton in 1992, he stayed on as a technical writer and became “the Web guy” who built Carleton’s first Web server in 1994—a far cry from his religion major. “It’s all about that liberal arts experience,” laughs Heiman. We sat down with him to get the skinny on Web development, YouTube, and playing the fiddle.
What does your job entail?
I work on tools that integrate the data we have elsewhere at the College and make it available for people to see in an easy fashion. For example, I created the alumni and the campus directories. These days I’m also doing a lot of straight programming, writing the code that supports the Web applications people see.
What do you find most interesting about technology today?
Technology is becoming accessible to more people. When we started the Web 12 years ago, you had to have a lot of infrastructure in place if you wanted to have a Web site—it wasn’t something that just anyone could do. But today it’s easy for anybody to create a Web site, manage a photo collection, share a video clip, or keep up a blog. MySpace and YouTube aren’t anything special to kids growing up today—it’s just part of their environment. I think that’s a great thing.
What do you do away from work?
When I’m not at the computer, I’m sort of an old-fashioned throwback. My wife and I are restoring our 1856 home in Northfield, which houses my small collection of Victorian technologies such as victrolas and player pianos. I play the fiddle in a Scandinavian band in town. I’ve got a collection of instruments that I’ve played over time—harps, bagpipes, guitars. I also run a small publishing company that specializes in books on traditional music.