We are excited to welcome Amanda Jackson, Element’s newest web developer to the team. With a background in website design and development, Amanda works to improve the function of existing websites and researches new platforms and frameworks to give our clients the best interactive resources available.
We caught up with Amanda to learn about her love for website development, what it takes to learn a new platform, and just how her Neopets are doing!
Where did you get your education from?
Amanda: I started at UW-Stevens Point with a major in history and international studies and a minor in peace studies and museum studies. Sounds fun right? Over time, I decided that, as much as I loved learning theories and concepts, I wanted to learn a skill, something I could prove and show (without talking… I’m a quiet being).
I always loved coding so I hopped on Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s website and learned about the school’s web development degree. I enrolled the following semester and the rest is history.
What sparked your interest in web development?
A: Do you remember Neopets? That’s where it all started. I created an account using my mom’s birthdate (I was only 11) so I could post on the message boards. The website allowed you to customize your font and signature, but the WYSIWYG editor was awful. I learned the code, which was similar to old HTML/CSS, and went nuts. I remember being excited that I could change my font to match my avatar or my mood.
What does a day in the life of a web developer look like?
A: My day starts by checking emails and prioritizing projects. At any point in the day, a new project can come in and my whole schedule gets thrown off. That’s okay though! Being a developer, you have to be able to switch gears at a moment’s notice and put something else on the back burner. My projects include:
- Making existing websites responsive
- Uploading photos into galleries
- Performing extensive updates from clients on live sites and sites in beta
- Importing data into databases
That barely scratches the surface! If there’s ever down time after I’ve finished my projects, I look online for new techniques to learn and read about industry updates. There is ALWAYS something new to learn.
For most people, writing code is like speaking a foreign language, so how do you acclimate yourself when introduced to a new platform or framework?
A: Every time a new platform or framework comes out, I let out a big sigh, look at what it does, and decide if it’s something I should learn now or if it can wait for a later time. There are so many platforms, frameworks, resources, and new ways to do things.
Basically, I read through as much documentation as I can find and look at forums to see what questions other developers may have asked. The best way for me to learn, though, is to actually use the framework or platform to truly understand the system.
It can be overwhelming to try and understand all of the different resources out there and how they work together, but it’s probably my favorite thing about web development. There is always something out there for me to dive into.
You’re a big fan of Harry Potter. If J.K. Rowling were to write another Harry Potter book featuring you, would you be a good or bad character, and what would the book’s title be?
A: Oh, I would definitely be a good character! Probably a more rock n’ roll version of Luna Lovegood. I would be a bit weird, eccentric, and would have some stylish wizard robes.
The book’s title would be Harry Potter and the Girl Who Used Magic for Literally Everything (shout out to Fred and George Weasley who ‘whip their wands out for everything’). Why wouldn’t you want to use magic?! Why isn’t magic real?! These are all very important questions …
You say your favorite food is pizza. What would your perfect pizza look like?
A: My mouth is already watering… my perfect pizza would be super simple: a pepperoni pizza with LOTS of cheese … and cheese in the crust too! Oh, and parmesan cheese on top. Hey, I’m from Wisconsin! I can’t help my love of cheese!
Since Amanda is a self-proclaimed connoisseur of pizza, we put her to the test with this BuzzFeed Quiz.
It’s no surprise Amanda was deemed a pizza genius. Pizza and computer platforms, there’s nothing this developer doesn’t know!
Brush up on your knowledge of pizza with these 10 facts about America’s favorite pie!
Do you have a knack for web and software development? Our full-service agency is always looking for skilled, creative individuals to join the team. Check out our available positions and apply today!