Thank you for joining us for our series of interviews, "Meet the Sharks" here on the ManoByte blog. With this series, we're highlighting the great people who work to make inbound marketing magic happen each day. This week, we'd like to give you the chance to learn more about our Lead Developer, Erin Bebee.
MB: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background:
EB: Although I now live and work in Grand Rapids, I moved here from Canada in the middle of my post-secondary studies. After finishing high school, I still had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew it needed to be something creative, so I decided to start out with general multimedia design at Alberta College of Art and Design.
After 2 years at ACAD, things started to get a little more serious with my boyfriend, and because he lived here in Michigan, I figured the best thing to do would be to get a student visa and finish my education in the states. Now, if you are from States you might not know this, but the cost for post-secondary schooling for non-residents is outrageously high, and the only thing I could reasonably afford was community college. So, I packed up and flew to Michigan where I would complete my associates in animation. Now, I know what your thinking - why animation? That’s not web development! And yes, I did change my mind once again and go back to school again for web development. At this point though, I was now married and an official American resident, so I only had to pay the regular overpriced school admission fees! I also decided that online classes would probably be the best, since life was getting a bit crazy, and Devry was offering a tantalizing 50% scholarship to people with an associates degree and a decent GPA. And that's how I finally got into web development.MB: What’s something people would be surprised to know about you:
EB: So, I mentioned before that the reason I moved to Michigan was because of my now husband. But we actually met many years before my move in the online video game World of Warcraft. I think I was around 14 or 15 at the time, and it would be a few years before we met in person. But eventually, that would lead to many years of gaming together as well as these two gorgeous puppies.
MB: Tell us how you ended up getting into coding and development?
EB: My first experience with HTML and CSS was with the website Neopets when I was probably around 10 or so. Each of the "pets" you owned had their own webpage which you could customize. Of course I wanted a rainbow background with a sparkly cursor and music that would autoplay! But at this point, I considered it to be more like a cool thing you could do, rather than something you could make a career out of. It wasn’t until I had to take a web class as part of the required classes in my animation degree that I remembered how much I loved doing it.MB: Tell us about how you got started with ManoByte:
EB: I was nearing the end of my schooling at Devry and though it would be a good idea to start getting some practical experience. I started looking for internship positions or entry level developer positions, and came across ManoByte. I almost didn’t apply, since they were looking for a full time developer, and I didn't think I was qualified enough. But I got a call from Kevin only a few hours after applying, and the rest is history!MB: What does a typical day in the life of a developer look like?
EB: Every day brings something new. Some days I might be doing project work and other days website maintenance. I often get sidetracked with requests from people, which can be somewhat stressful at times, but it also keeps things interesting. I have to be a good multi-tasker because I always have a number of things on my plate.MB: What do you like most about your job?
EB: Every day is a new puzzle. I am constantly figuring out new and better ways to do things. I have always enjoyed puzzles and the feeling when you figure out something that other people said was impossible.
Want to see some of the cool stuff Erin gets to build? Here's a case study recapping a recent website project she worked on.
MB: What do you find challenging about your job?
EB: I think this is similar to what I like most about my job. It can be a lot of pressure when you are expected to just "figure it out". There's never just one way to do something, but there are certainly better ways than others.MB: What is your favorite thing about working at ManoByte?
EB: I love the work environment here, we are laid back and fun loving, but we work hard and we make cool things. It’s wonderful to love what you do, and love the people you do it with. It makes coming to work so much more enjoyable.MB: What has been your favorite project you’ve been a part of at ManoByte?
EB: I think my favorite project would have to be our own site. I love that we have the freedom to try new things without having as many requirements and expectations. When we moved to a points-based system, (learn more about that here) I thought it was going to be a complete nightmare to keep track of, and that we really ought to look into some software to keep it all straight. But there wasn't really anything out there that was a good fit, so I made one. Together with our Creative Director, Jeanie, I think we made something really cool.MB: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
EB: I do a lot of reading at home. Last year my Kindle informed me that I had read over 200 books! I also enjoy playing a lot of video games, mostly fantasy RPG games, but I’ve actually recently enjoyed playing The Sims again, something I haven’t done since the original came out.MB: What do you think people would be surprised to know about being a developer?
EB: I didn't expect there would be as much math involved in my job. I am a bit of a perfectionist, and when I’m given the tools to make something exact, I do. But sometimes figuring out just how to do that can be a bit complex, and if you look at the notebook on my desk, it mostly filled with layouts, dimensions, and calculations for a variety of different things.MB: Is there anything about you, your job role or ManoByte you’d like to share that I haven’t asked you about already?
EB: If you have made it this far then I applaud you, I have never considered myself to be a very good writer, but I hope you found this interesting nonetheless. Working at ManoByte we wear a lot of hats, and sometimes you have to do things a bit outside your comfort zone. But our excellent team is always there to support you!
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