I’m a Senior Software Engineer (Web) at Sprout Social. Over the past years at Sprout, I have worked on the marketing sites and now specialize in growth and product-led engineering to help our customers get the most out of our software.
I am a self-taught web developer with a background in art and art history. On paper, those things seem disconnected, but the knowledge I gained in both practices has been critical to my growth.
When I moved to Chicago, I wanted to find an arts center where I could continue my art practice and help others. After a Google search and about 10 pages of results, I found one. I joined up and helped out where I could, but in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about all the people who weren’t clicking through pages of Google results to find them.
So I asked myself...
How can I help people find this arts center?
I started doing what I do: research. I read up on building websites with a focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and went for it. It wasn‘t pretty, but it had the information people needed to find us. Not long after, searches for key phrases got their site up to #1 in search results. I couldn’t believe it, but even more importantly, I enjoyed the work I did along the way.
Since then I have continued the ongoing learning process and have built a personal library of development knowledge. I am always excited to take on new challenges to grow that knowledge.
In college my art practice focused on casting bronze. Similar to web development, each step builds on the previous one—from creating a clay model to finishing the bronze—if you don’t understand all the steps in the process, you jeopardize the final product. Working in this tradition taught me to be aware of each action and its role in the project, ensuring the best result for the client and their customers.
Research is the backbone of art history in the same way that research is critical to great web development. If you run into a problem in your work, the solution is just a search away. And if that search turns up nothing in art history, you celebrate because you just found your thesis. Even when the result isn’t out there yet, the solution becomes a synthesis of existing ideas to solve your problem.
The first couple of flops (some still floating around the interwebs) are difficult. Each time I wanted to walk away and give up but I realized that those were the best moments to learn. Now I (try to) embrace mistakes and let them educate each subsequent project. Dedication, time, and a few breaks can lead to a breakthrough.
In my previous role, I maintained multiple marketing sites and blogs, improved the accessibility of our content, helped choose and migrate between marketing automation tools, made sure our marketing team was able to get accurate data on our site’s activity, set up a community portal to serve as a resource for everyone working in social media at all levels, and much more. I recently changed roles to work more closely with Sprout‘s product as a growth engineer.
I improved revenue tracking across three separate sales channels in Google Analytics, brought our Drupal development in-house saving money and time, converted email campaigns to responsive templates to address an increasing mobile user base, and developed promotional sites for marketing campaigns.
I oversaw the migration from a proprietary CMS to Drupal, coordinated the launch of a new sales channel, assisted in developing several promotional email campaigns, and maintained and developed content to supplement on-air programming.
I maintained over 85 websites for the US main office and its distributors. I also created email templates for a variety of customer and distributor communications.
I have worked for a variety of clients ranging from local arts groups to international, industrial manufacturing equipment sales. I have developed WordPress and other CMS-based sites, improved search engine optimization, converted fixed-width websites to responsive ones, and provided an expert voice on digital projects.