Tech Startups I've Worked For In California
Soon after I moved to California I interviewed at a company called NewIWorld. This company was in the business of app development and needed a designer with web experience to convert thier concepts into wireframes! I gratefully accepted as this was my first web development related job, aside from working at my father's company in my youth. At any given moment, we were working on three to six different apps or websites. It was a blast getting to mockup and prototype different ideas every week.
What I Learned
If I were to choose two of the most useful things I learned from this experience, second place would go to the constant documentation. At the end of every work day I’d need to submit a typed copy of the daily tasks I worked on, the amount of time spent on those tasks, and notes for other designers or developers working on the same project.
That is a good segway for first place, which is the fact that I learned to use Git at this job. Learning Git and how repositories work is an essential part of being a collaborative developer. Being introduced to it back in 2011 was very beneficial for my future in programming.
ForElyse was the second california company that I worked for. It’s a small northern california clothing boutique that specializes in college women's fashion. When I got on board, my first tasks were often overwhelmingly graphic design based, and non technical. I completed such assignments as designing vector ForElyse logos, photo retouch ups for print and digital mediums, and simple wireframes for a soon to be website. During the creation of ForElyse.com however, I gained a broad understanding of the different Information Systems required to create a successful e-commerce website. A team of 6 individuals and myself completed the following tasks over a 6 month period.
- SEO, Website frontend development, logo design, branding, public relations and outreach.
- Overall database management, automation, consistency and referential integrity.
- Early implementation of Zen Cart and Zen Cart migration to PDG Commerce.
- Quickbooks implementation into PDG Commerce.
What I learned
If I were to choose two of the most useful abilities I gained from this experience, second place would go to my new found ability to prototype using code. Before, I had become accustomed to wireframes, mockups, and prototypes all being done on bitmap or vector software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. My project manager at ForElyse was very adamant in that he wanted dynamic prototypes that could stretch and expand based on the viewport and content. For that to happen, I had to become an HTML and CSS pro creating tags with seamlessly repeating borders, frontend generated shadows, rounded corners, and the likes.
First Place goes to learning some basic bash/shell scripting to try and automate the mundane task of data entry. We needed to merge and transition the entire quickbooks database from ForElyes’s brick and mortar, to our newly developed e-commerce database. The office manager ordered me and a few other non technical personnel to manually enter data. At the time I was learning basic shell scripting, and instantly knew I’d be able to transform the given CSV’s from quickbooks into useable data schemes, then populate the new database. Through the wonders of shell/bash scripting and the pipeing of data, I created scripts that could remove punctuation and organize information as I saw fit.