Name: Austin Hunt ’19
Hometown: Anderson, S.C.
Education: B.S. in computer science with a minor in math, College of Charleston
Job title: Webmaster with College of Charleston IT
How long have you worked at the College? A little over three years! I started working at the College in the fall of 2017 as a student network engineer with IT Network Engineering, and when I graduated in May of 2019, I began working as a temp with IT EAMNA (Enterprise Application Management & Network Architecture) on a network monitoring/alerting project called Icinga2. The following December, I was offered a full-time position as webmaster with the EAMNA Web team, which I had excitedly applied for after working on web development projects over the past two years under the guidance of Dr. Ayman Hajja.
What are your job responsibilities? In the nuttiest of shells, a fusion of web development and DevOps.
On the web-dev side, I work alongside Andrew Bergstrom in web support, server management, analytics, site design (and re-designs), training and rolling out new web services (like Social Intents and Cascade CMS 8, to give some recent examples). I’ve also gotten to develop some custom web apps for the College like MyQR (an app that generates user-specific QR codes for attendance tracking at athletics events) and CofC Messenger (a web app that has been used to send thousands of SMS messages since March 2020 regarding important subjects like housing, parking and registration).
On the DevOps side, I work on Icinga2, a network-monitoring and -alerting application, to help our EAMNA team quickly identify and respond to IT infrastructure issues if and when they occur. I also get to work on integrations here and there to help streamline certain backend processes like account creation in Cascade CMS or pulling data into MyCharleston channels.
What do you like most about your job? It’s a colorful concoction of coding, creating and collaborating. Challenge presents itself in IT as a bottomless mimosa and it’s one of my favorite things to drink; there’s always a problem to be solved and always opportunities for innovation. There’s always something to learn and always resources available to learn it. The team I get to work with is awesome and I’m really grateful for the autonomy, the guidance and the tools I’ve been provided to help solve problems.
What question do you get asked most in your job and what’s your typical answer? Question: Why isn’t this [embedded video, iframe, script, image, CSS] loading properly anymore on my site?
Short Answer: It’s being loaded with HTTP on an HTTPS-only site.
Long Answer: As of late 2020, most if not all CofC sites are forcing the use of HTTPS for improved user experience and security and no longer allow HTTP traffic. Resources loaded over HTTP from an HTTPS page are blocked as “mixed content” to protect security. To fix the issue, you can simply change the URL for that [embedded video, iframe, script, image, CSS] to use HTTPS instead of HTTP, assuming the server behind the URL in question supports HTTPS. If it’s not available with HTTPS, try pulling the resource from somewhere else or removing the resource from the site.
What’s your favorite location on campus and why? This may sound ultra basic and/or very millennial of me, but my impulse answer to this is Kudu – for a few reasons. One, I love coffee. Two, I love good music. Three, I really dig greenery and laid-back patio vibes. Kudu sits nicely in the center of that 3-circle Venn diagram.
What are your hobbies? I really enjoy drawing portraits (https://www.sketchyactivity.com), cooking, dabbling with guitar (I’m far from a pro), web development, writing, building/DIY projects and listening to music – there’s something magical about the trinity of jazz, funk and hip hop. I also love driving and binge-watching Netflix shows (not simultaneously, I swear).
What personal and/or professional accomplishment are you most proud of? I’m proud to have graduated summa cum laude from the College, and to have worked with Dr. Ayman Hajja in the computer science department on two web development projects whose respective papers were both published in the IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference: “PolyPy: A Web-Platform for Generating Quasi-Random Python Code and Gaining Insights on Student Learning” (2019) and “A Novel E-Learning Platform for Building and Publishing Student-Driven Personalized Lessons” (2020).
Name a creative work (book, movie, performance, etc.) you enjoyed recently and why: I recently watched the movie Chef (2014), in which Jon Favreau plays chef Carl Casper, and it honestly melted my heart into a consistency matching that found in the movie’s famous grilled cheese scene. I guess there are quite a few reasons I like the movie – first, Casper’s an artist fighting for creative freedom in his work; that’s hashtag-goals, if you ask me. Second, the movie is all-around wholesome and insightfully mouthwatering; the concept of a father and son bonding on a cross-country food truck journey is something else, as are those mojo pork Cubanos. Third, I grew up basically marinating in a love for cooking shared by my family, and that’s of course a pretty strong theme in Chef. Lastly, there’s a scene where Casper’s son tries his first beignet at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans that was super reminiscent of when I tasted my first one there myself.
What was your favorite TV show growing up? Since I’m unbelievably indecisive, I’m going to answer with a list of TV shows and justify it by asking, “Aren’t we always growing up?”: SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Drake & Josh, pre-Ashton Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, Breaking Bad, The Office, That ’70s Show, It’s Always Sunny and Parks and Rec.
What’s next on your bucket list? I want to earn an M.S. in computer science, drive across the country – see some sights, eat some food, meet some people, you know – and build my own home eventually.
What is something your campus colleagues would be surprised to know about you? Before coming to Charleston, I used to be a dirt-bike-racin’, four-wheeler-flippin’, mud-boggin’ country boy. Listened exclusively to country music, went fishing regularly, ate some dirt and asphalt here and there, broke an ankle, the works. Scars to prove it. No regrets.
What was your first job? I worked a few summers during high school as a receptionist at a law firm in my hometown, but I think I was more engaged by my summer job in 2016 with a roofing contractor. Boy, was that a hot summer.
What’s your favorite Lowcountry restaurant? Roadside Seafood. The Folly Road location, before it closed, was a super small restaurant with super great Louisiana-style seafood. Their fried shrimp? To die for. I think there’s another location now on Johns Island that’s a little more accessible. Here’s a mouth-watering article about the Folly Road restaurant from a few years ago: https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/story/roadside-seafoods-fried-shrimp-may-be-the-best-in-town?oid=5026233.
Describe your perfect day: It’s a crisp, cool, sunny Saturday morning – 65 degrees with a 100% chance of chill. The only blues are in the sky today. The day starts with a piping hot cup of Joe with steam that dances upward to the Ink Spots’ “The Java Jive” playing in the background. A series of new albums were released the night before – from Tom Misch, French Kiwi Juice, Khruangbin, Saba, Durand Jones & The Indications and more personal favorites – so I listen to those throughout the day while working on a commissioned portrait. I finish the drawing early, take the soft top off the Jeep and drive around under those blues in the sky as they melt into oranges and purples. After sunset, I put on my night owl hat and dive headfirst for a few hours into a black and neon-green abyss of code, where I exploit the power of a perfect day to identify and exterminate all bugs that I couldn’t find on the non-perfect day that came before. Then I win the lottery.
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