Viggiano speaks fluently in five digital dialects


Blot photo by Zoe Conner-Bennett

Viggiano next to a computer displaying code he has written.

Kaitlyn Delaney and Timothy Wilburn

Like many young boys, freshman Mark Viggiano of Ocean spent his time in elementary school playing Minecraft with his friends. But, in fifth grade, the world of building digital homes and villages unexpectedly allowed Viggiano to “level-up” from a zombie-fighting gamer to a coding expert.

In 2014, Viggiano and his friends decided to join a competitive league for Minecraft. Around this time, Minecraft developers released a new gaming website, sparking Viggiano’s interest almost immediately.

“After looking at it and poking around with the inspect element…I thought I could try to learn how to make something like that,” he explained. 

Viggiano initially learned HTML through online courses, as well as by attending a coding camp at Brookdale Community College the following summer, where he learned the basics of Cascading Style Sheets. From that point forward, Viggiano was solely self-taught; he learned Python, JavaScript, and PHP on his own.  He now utilizes his vast knowledge to focus on website development.

Today, Viggiano works for the Minecraft league that lead him to coding years ago. As a full-stack developer, Viggiano handles the coding of every aspect of the site, including the front and back ends of the code. Viggiano also manages the Podcrash Competitive League’s website and is currently working on a personal project on GitHub, a platform that developers use to share their codes. 

George Michals, a freshman from Ocean Township, said that he has used Viggiano’s GitHub codes in the past, explaining that Viggiano’s coding abilities have thoroughly impressed him. 

“I think he’s a really good programmer,” Michals commented. “He’s really experienced…which is very impressive for someone his age.”

With his experience and interest in coding, it is surprising to some that Viggiano chose to attend CHS over a career academy such as High Technology High School, which is more heavily geared more towards computer science. Despite this, Mark believes CHS was a perfect fit for him. 

“The students at CHS seem to really enjoy their time at school and get to know each other, where I didn’t see that at High Tech,” Viggiano explained. “A few friends of a friend who graduated from CHS… told me ‘you can go into programming anywhere… just go where you think you’ll fit in and where you’ll be happy.’ I took their advice, and it appears I made the right choice.”