My Extended Narrative

After acquiring my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Stony Brook University, I pursued various marketing, sales, and counseling positions before venturing into entrepreneurship in 2011. My first startup was essentially a SaaS company, and unbeknown to us, we needed to secure a technical partner who would grow with the company. Unfortunately, the tech lead we had was disinterested in making that type of commitment. I quickly realized that we were going to struggle without the right kind of 'tech person' helping us develop the tools we needed to succeed. This sparked a renewed personal interest in web development. This interest couldn't save the startup, but it did change the trajectory of my life for years to come.

I initially started building websites in the 7th grade on platforms like Geocities and Angelfire, but shifted my focus away from web development halfway through high school. Although web development was nothing close to what it is today, the experience I acquired utilizing HTML and Flash (back then run by Macromedia, before Adobe purchased it in 2005) to build websites came in handy. By the end of 2012, I got back into the field by learning and aiming to master WordPress, and by mid 2013 I launched Digital Ant, Inc. - a web development agency that aimed to work with small businesses.

During the early years, my operation was clearly more freelancer than agency. I spent half of my time trying to develop other startup ideas that didn't quite have teeth. In the meantime, I built working proficiencies in HTML 4.1/5, CSS 3, Javascript, jQuery, and PHP, using resources like and Codecademy. I also had the opportunity to work on projects that broadened my understanding of various platforms; such as, ExpressionEngine, Shopify, and Volusion. In 2015, I joined General Assembly's Web Development Immersive program to step up my coding ability.

During my time at General Assembly as a member of the Web Immersive team, we saw the challenges of rapid growth first hand; we were given several sandbox scenarios in which we had to gather the requirements from clients and end-users, use our expertise with programming languages to develop and write applications for unit testing, design plans plans for strategic delivery, and anticipate/communicate possible issues that could interrupt service to both the staff and our users in rapidly changing conditions.

That experience clearly illustrated the real world challenges other IT teams must face in a growth-laden environment. Working between immersive groups (as departments) and other collaborative teams, it was all we could do to deliver the minimum viable products for a given task on-time. It was an intense, but wonderful knoweledge building experience that taught me how to learn new programming languages and get a sense of operational demands in a commercial setting. It also allowed me to expand on my experience utilizing jQuery, as well as Git, Bash, AJAX, ERDs and RDBMS modeling, CRUD functionality, MVC frameworks, APIs, RESTful development, along with Ruby, Sinatra, Ruby on Rails, and Node.js.

The best take away I got from General Assembly was learning how to learn the technical things I didn't know. They taught me how to fish. Following the immersive, I worked on developing my skills, continued freelancing, and shifted my focus to include a detailed understanding of digital marketing. I eventually became Hubspot certified in 2017 and Google Ads certified in 2018. Today, I use what I know in concert; producing deliverables that are of value to individuals and organizations looking to make their own digital footprint within their industry.