Who I Am

My name is Charles Hoffman. I’m 39 and live in Des Moines, Iowa. I believe in freedom, art, experimentation, collaboration, and simplicity.

What I do


Any language will do. I’m good at picking up programming languages as needed, within reason, especially if I have an existing codebase to work with. The bulk of my professional experience has been in Scala, Ruby (much of that with Rails), PHP, Javascript, and ActionScript, but I’ve dabbled in many others. I’ve long been comfortable around a Linux command prompt or an Apache config. I like being able to deploy what I write. I’ve also installed Wordpress and things like it dozens of times.

I began working as a programmer professionally in late 2005, a few months before receiving my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from University of Northern Iowa. I nerd out about things like object-oriented design and functional programming. Trying new things is one of the most exciting parts of the job, but I’ve also a respect for the tried and true and a healthy suspicion for using the new and shiny just for its own sake. I’m not above a quick hack when it’s the right thing, but I get a warm feeling from leaving code cleaner and more maintainable than I found it.

Currently I work with a bunch of awesome people on mobile and internet banking stuff, and I plan to stick around there as long as they’ll have me.

Music, especially on the bass guitar

I play a pretty mean bass, and a little bit of guitar and trumpet. I’ve been in several original bands with more artistic success than commercial (and still am, feel free to ask about them). I’m an enthusiastic experimenter with a love of the avant-garde and new sounds, as well as good ol’ rock, jazz, metal, punk, blues, and pop music.

I’m available for session work, sideman gigs, and the like. I have good ears and know my way around music theory (it was once my college major, but I dropped out after a year and took to studying it on my own). I can read sheet music, improvise, and learn songs quickly or work up my own parts. I could even collaborate with you on songwriting or arrangements. The more experimental side of my music work could also be handy in designing sound effects for games or films.

Writing, especially about music or tech

I’ve blogged obsessively at various times in my life, usually opinionated editorial kinds of things on software development, music, or politics, and have done quite a few music reviews both on my own sites and others’. I love researching things. I have no other journalistic credentials but I believe that my talents in programming and music stem from being a writer by nature, as music and programming are, as I see it, forms of language.