James Harrell

Software Engineer • Student @ Purdue University

About Me

My name is James Harrell. I am an 18 year old studying Computer Science at Purdue University. As a junior in high school, I became interested in programming, and started to teach myself Java. I really enjoyed it, and have been programming almost daily ever since.

The first programming language I leared was Java. I taught myself some Java because I wanted to be able to make Minecraft Plugins. At the time I was running a small Minecraft Server and was wanting to be able to add some new features to the server. I was learning about Linux, server administration, etc. Writing some plugins for the server was a good next step. Minecraft is written in Java, and so server APIs like Spigot are also written in Java, it just made sense as a first language. As I got better at making plugins, I started doing some freelancing for other servers, and have even found myself a few jobs writing plugins.

As I kept programming, I also started learning about other languages. My favorite was Kotlin. It was very easy to pick up coming from Java and it offered good interoperability meaning I did not have to rewrite all my old projects. As I used Kotlin more and more, I realized how nice of a language it was. To this day, its one that I use very frequently and like a lot.

I ended up getting into web development, primarily to make this website. I was freelancing and making public projects, and I wanted some way to showcase what I had done to show potential future clients. I had taken a Web Development and Design course in High School, so I was not completely lost when I tried to start. I have made multiple versions of this site, and am modifying it frequently. I have used frameworks for it like Next and React, which introduced me to JavaScript alongside HTML and CSS. It has been a fun learning experience, making this website over and over again with different tools. One day I hope to set it up as a more dynamic site with maybe user authentication for myself and clients, but that is still a long way in my future.

Overall, I have had a good experience learning to program, and have found that I enjoy it a lot, which is what led me to focus on a Computer Science major in College.

Hobbies and Activities

When I am not programming, I enjoy the outdoors and hanging out with friends. I like to fish, hike, bike, and really do anything that gets me outside into nature. I earned my Eagle Scout in 2017 and have been enjoying all the fun things that we did in scouts ever since.

I have backpacked hundreds of miles across the Appalachian Trail and Colorado Trail. I've also hiked the tallest "14er" in Colorado, Mt. Elbert.

I also have co-raised 2 guide dog puppies, Luna and Coast, with my mom. We raised them for the same organization that I did my Eagle Scout project for, Southeastern Guide Dogs. My Eagle Scout project was building exercise equiptment for the dogs. I led a group of other Boy Scouts in building a series of ramps and platforms that could be placed together to make fun structures for the dogs in training to run around on.

I also like playing different sports. I played baseball until I was in high school and then I played soccer during high school. I don't play for any teams or clubs anymore, but I still enjoy throwing the baseball or kicking around a soccer ball with people.