Meet the newest member of the B-Team, Crystal! As our Senior Web Developer, she’s in charge of everything related to our website, including creating new features for the site, web maintenance, and more!
We love having this web guru in the office because of her positive, can-do attitude and ability to light up the room with her smile! Get to know Crystal by reading her Q&A below:
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get into web development?
I used to call myself a hobbyist web developer. I started playing around with code when I was 12 years old. I would code simple sites for myself and I ran a Christina Aguilera fansite. Oh, man, those were the days! I really just loved building things for fun and without any real purpose. Finally, in 2013, I decided to see what it would be like to turn my hobby into my full time gig. I asked myself, “instead of racing home to code all night, what if I got to code all day?” It’s been an experiment turned success and I am glad I went for it.
Education-wise, most of what I learned was on my own through books. My high school had a few classes on web design and development that I took, too. In 2012 I graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Information Systems. While that degree is not centered around web development, it did give me a broad overview of programming and I was able to take electives that focused specifically on web development.
What does a typical day look like for you as our Senior Developer?
The word “typical” in a startup doesn’t exist! Right now I work pretty closely with the Marketing and Creative teams. I develop new website features the Marketing team requests and code landing pages that the Creative team designs. In short, my job is to digitally deliver you—our awesome community of bloggers, creatives, and entrepreneurs—content via our website!
What is your favorite part about working at Bloguettes?
Everyone refers to me as a unicorn, and you know, unicorns are cool so that must mean they think I’m cool, too!
Name 3 skills you need to be successful in your job position.
Patience. You can be the best developer, but sometimes things will not go as planned. That’s with all of life, right? You’ll have to have patience to step back, take a look at the code, assess, and recourse in a new direction.
Problem-solving. As mentioned above, unexpected things will happen. Having a keen ability to problem solve will be crucial.
Logical Foresight. It’s super important to be able to think through what you are coding. You need to anticipate the user’s behavior in order to code a future-proof solution.
Finish this sentence: The motto of my life is….
The motto of this season of my life is: do it afraid.
What do you like to do in your free time?
EVERYTHING! Seriously, there isn’t enough time in a day to do all the things I love or enough space in this article for me to explain! In short, I truly love exploring in every sense— a weekend road trip to a new city in Arizona, researching a new idea I heard about in a podcast, exploring my physical limitations by trying a new sport, or a new restaurant or coffee shop in the valley. Hiking, longboarding or rollerblading around Tempe Town Lake, sewing bikinis or handbags, running an obstacle course race with friends, zenning out at hot yoga, or scheming up a new side project at a coffee shop — these are a few of my favorite things!
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
From age four I wanted to be a school teacher. I loved school, I loved learning, and I loved helping my teachers grade papers. Even more than that, I loved watching the people I tutored as their eyes brightened when they finally grasped a concept. I now find that same fulfillment by being a personal trainer and educating women on proper nutrition and fitness.
What are your top 3 tips for someone looking to get started in web development?
Pick a primary language. There are a lot of languages out there to learn. It was suggested to me when I was beginning, and I tell everyone now, too. Pick a handful of languages and get really good at those. Essentially become an expert in 2-3 languages based around what you like to do. A lot of languages are very similar, and only differ in syntax. Which means, if you know a few really well, learning a new one will become much easier.
Build (and break) things on your own. It’s my personal opinion, but I believe the best developers are those who are self-taught, or have the ability to learn new things on their own. If you’re just getting started out, brainstorm a project concept then find a tutorial of something that is similar to what you want to build. Follow that tutorial and then expand upon it to add in new features based on what you learned. Then, try to build your idea without the tutorial.
Or, you can reverse engineer an idea. Find a website, for example, that you like. Figure out how to recreate it all on your own from scratch.
I still use both of these methods when I’m learning a new language. You have to have the ability to learn new things, and learn them quickly! Technology, as you know, is always evolving and you will need to keep up-to-date with the latest and greatest out there.
Bonus: these personal projects will serve as great portfolio work to land you your first job or internship!
Get involved in a community of developers. There’s no better way to learn than from people who have, “been there and done that.” It will shortcut your learning curve by reaching out to the community when you get stuck or need guidance. New friends, go-to resources for help, and insider info on open developer gigs—do it!
Get to know Crystal more by watching the video below!