Justin DoCanto is a 27-year-old web designer & developer based out of Los Angeles, CA.
After being introduced to his first computer at the age of 13, Justin immediately fell in love with the idea of being able to create anything he could imagine on a personal computer.
At first, he couldn’t do much more than break his grandmother’s Packard Bell. After a technology class in junior high taught him the basics of HTML, Justin found his niche and started creating websites for fun. At first it was a way to share cheat codes with his friends & to promote his band’s gigs but after some of his work got into the public eye, the first few offers of paying work started to roll in at the age 17.
From Homelessness to Honed In
On the day he graduated high school in 2003, Justin became homeless due to issues within his nuclear family. He was immediately forced to provide for himself and find a way to get off the streets. Due to this unexpected event, the first thing that came to mind was turning his hobby of making websites into a business as a means of providing for himself. Justin immediately started dedicating himself to making a living by designing & creating websites for others.
For the next few years, Justin hyper-focused on learning everything he could in order to maintain a constant flow of design and development work, but also to survive. Luckily, at the time, Kinko’s still offered a free Ethernet connection for laptops, Starbucks had just introduced free Wi-Fi, and he knew enough people with empty couches that he was never too far into harms way. Eventually after a few years of hard work Justin had built a new foundation below him that allowed him to support himself and focus solely on his new career as a Web Designer & Developer.
In 2006 Justin was offered and accepted an apprenticeship under Michael Shaun Conaway, CEO of StoryWorks. StoryWorks is a production house who’s clients include Coca-Cola, Gap International, HP, Microsoft, NBC, Target & Wachovia. For 2 years, Justin worked under Michael Shaun Conaway as he spent hundreds of hours creating corporate branding packages & launching large-scale PHP-based web development projects. It was his apprenticeship under Michael Shaun Conaway that really got his foot into the door of the professional web development world.
After returning to being an Independent Contractor in 2008, Justin spent the next 5 years launching over 100 websites for various clients. He has reached the skill level of a Senior PHP developer, printed tens of thousands of units (business cards, flyers, posters), and began developing and launching his own collection of WordPress plugins & themes.
During this time his projects included artist portfolios, informational business sites, e-commerce stores, niche social networks, a proprietary CMS system used by a local government agency, the functionality behind a proprietary touch screen kiosk used by a local government agency, an interactive micro-site for an international agriculture product launch, and much more.
During this time frame, aside from direct client work, Justin also worked as an independent contractor for Steller Systems Solutions, InSynergy Consulting, and Intellisparx.
Senior Developer at PiXLMiX, Inc.
In Early 2012, Justin teamed up with PiXLMiX, Inc. in Aliso Viejo, CA as their Senior Programmer. PiXLMiX, Inc. is headed by award-winning published illustrator Thomas Ciccone and is a multidisciplinary design studio aimed at providing modern graphic solutions and has been in business since 2007.
Approached by Facebook
In Mid 2012, Justin was approached by Facebook to join their products team in Northern California. Justin was certain he would not make the cut for Facebook, due to most of his coding knowledge being self-taught and not from a Computer Science background, but he went through the interview process anyway to see what would happen. As expected Justin did not make the final cut in the interview process due to his lack of experience solving algorithmic puzzles.
Personal Projects & Products
Although currently busy with his own clients as well as the client base at PiXLMiX, Inc., Justin still partakes in and plans on releasing more products, open-source code, plugins and various other personal projects in time. These projects, plugins, etc. are his own personal endeavor and are usually ‘weekend projects’ for him. It’s these type of projects & products that allow him to try new things or give back to the open-source, design, and development communities.