In an effort to explore the talent in our community, Devanooga is doing a “How I Work” series of articles akin to the series Lifehacker produced in the 2010s. If you would like to be a part of the series, submit a PR with the questions answered or contact one of our moderators.


Bobby Burden

Devanooga username



Senior Software Engineer


Ringgold, Georgia

Current daily computer

PC (Arch Linux / Windows 10 Dual boot), Intel MacBook Pro (work issued)

Current mobile device

Pixel 3a

One word that best describes how I work:


What apps, software, and/or tools can’t you live without?

  • Visual Studio Code
  • Emacs with org-mode
  • A good terminal emulator and bash/zsh
  • git

What is your best time-saving shortcut?

Be in the mindset to work. If you aren’t in the right mindset, don’t work. Playing the right music helps me get in the right mindset, but everyone is different. If you can’t focus on a problem, change something and try again.

What is your workspace setup like?

  • A good keyboard (I rotate between different keyboards for fun)
  • Two monitors
  • A notebook and pen for thinking through problems
  • A messy desk

Favorite or must-have gear in your workspace

I like listening to music while I work, so I have some specific gear for that purpose:

  • Schiit Magni headphone amplifier
  • Beyerdynamic DT-990 headphones

What do you listen to while you work?

I rotate through a few different artists and genres of music, but mostly for getting in the mood for work it’s:

  • Porter Robinson
  • deadmau5
  • Jonathan Coulton
  • Various “lo-fi” mixes of video game music (really liking Animal Crossing music right now)

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?

I’ve gotten much better recently of knowing my own mood. It’s really a skill to know what you’re currently going to be effective at. You might be better suited right now to reading code or documentation, or you might be in a good place to plan and work on tests, or you might be best equipped to start coding. I’ve found that I can be much more efficient overall when I’m doing what is best for my own mood.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Write comments now, because you’ll be questioning yourself tomorrow. This can really extend to everything in life – when you are making notes about something, tell your future self WHY you are doing something, not what you are doing. Being able to reflect on your past thoughts is invaluable.

What is some advice you would give to yourself earlier in your career?

It’s easy to dislike something. Challenge yourself by finding what there is to like about something. I avoided .NET for years because of the anti-Microsoft memes. When .NET Core was maturing, I missed out because I couldn’t get over my own anti-.NET prejudices.

Anything else you would like to add?

The most important thing about your work is your attitude. Not only in working with others, but in how you interpret the world around you and your own little projects. Having a good attitude is the difference between being the “know-it-all” that has the answers but no one wants to talk to, and being the wizard that’s always ready to take on a fun new challenge. Your manager will notice your attitude LONG before they notice your output.