I currently work as a software consultant, as part of a traineeship in
mostly on web applications. I’ve also used frameworks and libraries like
React, Axios, Hibernate, and JQuery; but I prefer not to use such frameworks
and write everything in “native” code instead, designing and
building each function myself (like I did for this website, for example).
The reason? My way of working is always grounded in a good understanding of the matter I work on. While frameworks are designed to make many processes easier and therefore, in theory, take time out of the developer’s hands, the downside of using one is that you are most likely not intimately familiar with the framework. So you know that the framework does something, but you don’t really know what’s going on under the hood. It also makes your code harder to read. Instead of everything being completely obvious and transparent because you wrote it yourself, you have to look and think really hard to figure out exactly what’s going on in the framework. So the time you gain by using a framework to take coding work out of your hands, you lose again by making the code more difficult to analyze. I prefer to keep things as simple as possible and make my own framework: even though it’s more work and takes longer initially, in the long run it makes things easier and therefore faster.
I also have good knowledge of SQL (and obtained an SQL for Data Science certificate from Coursera), some experience with Python, and I’m beginning to learn about XML, C#, and ASP.NET. Although my background is more on the design side, I found out during my training that I actually like back-end development a little more than front-end development, and that I enjoy managing databases using SQL. That said, I aim to be able to work as a full-stack developer. I’m interested in the history and philosophy of programming and the history of communications technology; I very much enjoyed reading James Gleick’s The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood. I like to learn new programming languages and would like to increase my repertoire. So far, my favourite language to code in is Java (and Python, I guess, but I haven’t used Python much recently).
I am also the owner of my own company, J.A. Brown (also called
J.A. Brown Enterprise and Department of Post‑Chomskyan
Linguistics), which I founded in 2019. It’s a sole proprietorship,
registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. I use it to provide services
related to languages and linguistics, such as teaching Dutch and translating
between Dutch and English.
In the near future, I plan to roll out a new business activity aimed at helping organizations achieve their goals by improving their communication and promotional material, using a philosophy-based method I designed.
Why “Department of Post‑Chomskyan Linguistics”?
You may wonder why my company is called the Department of
Post‑Chomskyan Linguistics. Well, it’s kind of a joke. I became
interested in the so-called “Pirahã controversy” years ago. This
controversy revolved, or revolves, around the linguist Daniel Everett and the
Pirahã language, which according to him falsifies Noam Chomsky’s theory
of linguistics, especially the part about the so-called “faculty of
language”. There is much more to it, but that’s the controversy in
a nutshell. If you want a more in-depth take on the whole thing, you can read
this 2007 article from The New Yorker. I use the phrase
“post‑Chomskyan linguistics” to describe research that
presents an alternative to traditional generative theories of grammar. Because
I like that, I began jocularly referring to myself as the (one-man)
“Department of Post‑Chomskyan Linguistics”. This then ended
up becoming an official trade name for my business, because why not? Perhaps
it is a bit of a misnomer, though, since Chomsky himself has stated he
doesn’t believe in the Minimalist Program (his theory about the
“faculty of language”) anymore. That means the most hardcore
‘Chomskyans’ are now people other than Chomsky himself. Perhaps
“post‑generative” would be a better name. But I think this is
See also the “Academic” page for more details on my work in linguistics.
Past work experience
Previously, I’ve done contract work for a company that provides Dutch language classes to explats and I’ve worked as a translator for a Dutch translation company with many large and small commercial and non-commercial clients. I’ve also worked as a homework support tutor for high schoolers and as a digital graphics assistant for an educational company.
Page last updated: 3 October 2021.