Gemini is the third astrology sign in the zodiac. Geminis are believed to be intellectually curious, playful, and dual natured, meaning they have two different personalities.
Developer Donny Hansen is a Gemini with a dual nature. He is a kind, animal-loving, and jovial Developer who is well versed in math, geometry, and coding. “We have four dogs, a cat, a rabbit, a mini-pig, and a bearded dragon,” he says.
His alter ego is a deep, wounded sketch artist that very few people get to see. “I’d always been fighting with myself to figure out who I was. I was either this ‘good’ person everyone thinks I am, or this edgier person that I want to be, and it really bothered me for a long time.”
His life has been a journey of discovery and acceptance.
Donny grew up in rural Idaho, where he enjoyed a typical childhood. “I was pretty basic as a kid. I played in the dirt, I played with my G.I. Joe action figures.” He became fascinated with computers in his adolescent years after his uncle introduced him to an old pixelated 8-bit Dungeons and Dragons video game. “The graphics were terrible, but back then I thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” he says.
Fueled by passion, Donny taught himself how to program at 18, and perfected his craft by working in the industry. “I dropped out of college three different times. At a certain point, I wasn’t learning anything. I knew more than some of my professors, and I couldn’t justify paying thousands of dollars for a piece of paper when I already had my career off the ground.”
Donny established himself as a programmer in Boise, but he and his wife felt the need to explore life outside of their native Idaho. “I had been hinting at moving outside of state and exploring things. I looked for a job in San Diego, got one within a week. I moved down there for the job,” he says. Donny and his wife arrived in an environment notably and noticeably different from what they grew up in. “There were such diverse people there, a melting pot that I’d never seen before. Everyone just got along, and I absolutely loved it! Other than the weather, the diversity and culture was the most eye opening thing for me.”
Since returning to Idaho, Donny has enjoyed success as both an engineer and a developer, but prefers the hands-on responsibilities that come with being a developer. When a developer position with Walker Tracker opened up, Donny was intrigued. He liked Walker Tracker’s choice of coding language and found that his personal values aligned with WT’s core values. “What stuck out to me about Walker Tracker was that they were accepting – we want to work with and help everyone. I knew I could get behind this.”
He has since thrived as a member of the Dev team because he’s offered the perfect mix of support and autonomy. “The team is very fluid. I was nervous about stepping into this new position because I didn’t want to disrupt the flow, but things are going really smoothly now.”
“I’d always been fighting with myself to figure out who I was. I was either this ‘good’ person everyone thinks I am, or this edgier person that I want to be, and it really bothered me for a long time.”
In his spare time, Donny loves sketching and digital painting, and hopes to hone his skills as a cartoonist. He’s a tattooed, pierced, champion of equality for all. He’s compassionate, logical, and humorous. He’s also learned to embrace and appreciate the artistic and deep side within himself. “Within the last five years, I began to accept that both of these parts make me who I am. So this happened relatively recently,” he says.
We had a chance to ask Donny some fun questions!
What is the last book you read?
A series of books called The Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It’s about a futuristic kind of political class system where the lower class takes over the higher class. It is very relevant to the time period we’re in. It was very interesting and almost surreal to read something written decades earlier that was happening in real life.
What kind of things do you like to do to stay physically active?
That’s something I have a problem with – staying physically active. Because I am a developer and an artist, I am always sitting down. I am trying to take quick walks around the neighborhood. When I was more physically active, I would take the dogs down to the park and walk around there more often.
Three things on your bucket list.
My bucket list is big. My biggest dream is to go to Amsterdam. I want to hang out there for a week, experience life there. I love how socially and environmental conscious folks in the Netherlands are. Visiting Tokyo is on my bucket list too. I want to write my own novel. I’ve started writing several screenplays and never finished them. I could keep going on forever (laughs).
What is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
Hawaii. We went two years ago and we were there for a week. It was such a magical place that it felt like time stopped. That week felt like a month, in a good way. While my wife and I were bobbing in the ocean, we had a wild sea turtle come and play with us. I get chills thinking about that moment, it was so magical.
If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you do with the money?
I’d give a huge chunk of it to animal rescue. I can say that right off the bat. There are so many people that want to do good things for animals, whether it be rescue or rehabilitation. And it’s with their own money. I would definitely want to give back to that. The animals need more protection.
Is there a fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share?
I can’t rotate my wrist like most people can. Two bones in my lower arm overlap instead of going parallel, so I can’t take change or hold my hand like most people can. I take change with both hands like a cup. I got X-rays on my arm and it revealed that they’re deformed but that doesn’t stop me from typing on a keyboard.
A second fun fact is that I have hobbit toes. I have little tufts of hair on each knuckle of my toe (laughs).
Are there any quotes that mean a lot to you or represent your approach to work or life?
I don’t know who said these quotes, but there are two – “things happen for a reason” and “Live and let live.” I also try to live by the Golden Rule.