Developer Spotlight: Christa Clark
Welcome welcome, fellow programmers for a new series I am starting where I interview developers. I really want to start putting a spotlight on all the great programmers and developers I meet out there in the real world. I figured I should start with a developer that I have had the pleasure of working with by the name of Christa Clark. So lets go ahead and get this interview started.
1. What made you want to become a developer?
I have always been fascinated by how things work, my poor mother was always dealing with me taking apart anything I could get my hands on, such as our tormented toaster. Two years ago, I started a Bitcoin related service with a friend he was handling everything technical and I did the rest. While I loved working on the project I quickly fascinated with how he was developing our platform and would watch him code any chance I could get. So learning how to program myself was a natural next step.
2. What is your core focus in the development world? are you a front end or back end or full stack?
I’ve dabbled with as many languages as I have the time for, however in my day to day I work with front-end and WordPress development (and often design).
3. When you develop your websites, how do you prepare what steps do you take to grind out this website.
I love being a freelancer because I often produce the entire site myself. So I will meet with the client, get an idea of their vision and needs, and then translate that into a mockup of what I believe will be the most effective design. Once they approve my proposal, I’ll get cranking on a site (often wordpress although I’ll do custom JS sites as well). When appropriate I’ll find a template that matches my vision as closely as possible as that cuts down the workload in half, saving me time and my client money. From there it’s a dance of showing them my progress, making changes when necessary, adding in content, and then getting feedback from people in their target user demographic. Then I know the project is finished when the client as well as their customers are happy and excited about the new site.
4. What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about developers that clients haven’t grasped yet.
The only thing I encounter regularly is a misconception of how long the process takes. I recently had a client drop me because I didn’t deliver a site in 2 days (even after taking the time to explain the process to him)…. -_- In this field, it’s important to know how long things take and then when quoting a client and creating a timeline double it. They will always be stoked when you deliver faster (especially if you are charging hourly), and there hasn’t been a project yet where I’m 95% done and then some mysterious voodoo bug appears and takes some time to fix.
5. What do you do to help curb these misconceptions.
I’m totally honest about the process throughout our time working together. I value customer satisfaction very highly and there is nothing worse than over-promising and under-delivering. However you would be surprised how of that happens in this field. So if you make the effort to be transparent, you will have repeat customers or will get referrals because happy clients want to tell all of their friends about the swanky new website. All of my work is referral based, I have yet to spend a dime on marketing..
6.What is the oldest browser you will develop for?
I follow Twitter Bootstrap as a guideline on development standards and refer to support anything before IE 9 and FIrefox 3.6 and mobile first for everything, always.
7. What is your specialty in development.
I’m a new developer and am still looking for my niche, but my favorite part of the process is designing the site and bringing a vision to life. Riding that excitement-high makes grinding out the code a lot easier. However, there’s a huge demand for WordPress sites, so 90% of my work has been just that lately.
8. Where do you see yourself in a few years? What do you want to accomplish.
Currently, my life goals are to travel and continue reading everyday. There’s nothing that gets me more excited than learning something new. Traveling is also very important to me so I’ve positioned myself to be able to work from anywhere in the world and have started relating to money in terms of plane tickets. I’m eager to continue developing myself as much as possible and build products of my own.
9. What are some development/design blogs you follow?
I’m on all of their mailing list so a curated list of articles lands in my lap every few days.
10. What would you say to the people who are picking up web development. What are some tips you would want to tell people who are learning web development but might feel overwhelmed.
You hear this a lot, but its for a reason: get hungry. You need to want to learn, enough to make it worth pushing through the hard parts (because there are plenty of them). Web development is like a mountain with no peak; you will never reach the top, you will never have a moment where you say, “okay I learned everything I could possibly learn, I win”.. All you can do is occasionally look back to appreciate how far you have come and learn to love the climb!
11. What do you do to unplug cause we all need to from time to time.
I hop on a plane and go somewhere new. I mentioned before that I love learning and being challenged, I feed off of it. So when I start to get stressed out or stagnant, I go somewhere new, somewhere out of my comfort zone. I’m currently in Jakarta, Indonesia which is a world away from Austin, TX (my home base), and I’m absolutely loving it.