Search the Asterisk Blog

Interview with new Asterisk developer, Ben Ford

By Matt Fredrickson

Hello, my name is Matthew Fredrickson and I’m the project lead for the Asterisk project. We recently hired someone new onto the project to help with development. His name is Ben Ford. I’ll be interviewing him today so we can learn more about him, his background, and what brought him to want to work on Asterisk full time.

Ben, first off, why don’t you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your background – where you’re from, what you were doing prior to getting hired here at Digium, and what motivated you to want to come to work on Asterisk full time.

Hey everyone! My name is Ben Ford. I’m 24 years old and recently graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Software Engineering. I’ve lived in Madison, Alabama since I was born. During my years studying at Auburn, I participated in the cooperative education program. This is where I first met Charlie Wilson, an employee here at Digium. He conducted the interview, and eventually I was contacted with an offer. I alternated between school and work for a total of 3 work semesters. During this time, I learned a lot about myself and the kind of environment that would be ideal for me to work in. Everyone here is very laid back and easy to get along with. If I ever hit an obstacle, all I had to do was ask someone for advice and they would point me in the right direction. It served as a model for what I would base all of my job searches on. Closer to graduation, I was contacted by Charlie again and offered a full time job as a software developer. Since my first day I have been constantly challenged to better myself and my ability to solve problems, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Thanks so much Ben for that information. As our readers can see, we were lucky enough to be able to get Ben back after having interned previously at Digium. Ben, just out of curiosity, can you tell us a little bit about some of the projects that you worked on while you were an intern here?

Sure Matt. The first semester was focused on getting me and the other co-op student exposed to the many different features Asterisk has to offer. This boiled down to setting up demos and writing multiple tests for different areas of Asterisk. The second semester took us by surprise. We were given a project to work on from the ground up. We worked with Asterisk Rest Interface (ARI) to develop a conferencing application in javascript that utilized Asterisk’s API. We also came up with our own process on how to get this job done. Everything was done primarily by us, with the occasional guidance of a fellow co-worker. The last semester, we were introduced to Asterisk source code. It was intimidating to say the least, and after looking at how complex Asterisk is, you will find a new appreciation for how simple it makes things on the outside. During this semester, we developed a module that let Asterisk load other modules, unload them, reload them, etc. The coolest thing about working on this stuff is that you can see your work being integrated with Asterisk, and everyone else can too.

That’s great! You actually got to work on the ARI interface as it was coming together in its beginnings. That’s a really neat time to be able to work on any project, but particularly one so important as ARI.

Now, in order to keep this interview brief, my last and final question that I’d like to share with our readers is this: What has been your favorite part of working on Asterisk and why?

So far my favorite thing has been discovering how everything works and becoming more familiar with the system itself, but if I had to pick something specific, I would say that the Asterisk Manager Interface (AMI) is a neat tool to work with. I did a lot of work with this my first semester since some of the tests are driven by AMI, and I’ve been working with it a little recently. It reminds me of JSON in a way, and I’m a big fan of JSON. Learning AMI is an important step to take when trying to learn more about how Asterisk works.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview Ben. I look forward to seeing all the neat things that you’ll do to move the Asterisk project forward!

Thanks Matt! I’m looking forward to it as well!

No Comments Yet

Get the conversation started!

Add to the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About the Author

Matt Fredrickson

See All of Matt's Articles