2018 is a special year for me both professionally and personally. I attended my first Sitecore Symposium and met lots of bright people in the Sitecore community, absorbed lots of knowledge and information on various topics, and became the ‘bold woman that found six mentors’ (@paige_oneill @francine_tweet @SimpkinsAllison@JulieKoepsell).
This is the year I delivered several talks on Sitecore ORM Glass Mapper 5 in person and online (ATL SUG, SUGChennai, SUGJPR, WomenOfSitecore, and a couple more lined up) and became the ‘Glassy Lady’. This year I was invited by a college professor to share career advice as a Sitecore developer to a Computer Science class and introduced Sitecore to them as their first enterprise CMS. This is also the year I got the chance to spend a lot more time as @sitecoreshu on Twitter and LinkedIn witnessing moments of hundreds of Sitecorians, and sharing my experiences with them. I passed the Coveo Developer Certification Exam with 91.1% at the end of 2017, shared my experience taking the exam, and made some awesome Coveo friends (@itinocom @SilaouO @jflh) who are almost as cool as their intelligent search technologies. This year I wrote several articles on my technical blog providing insights on Sitecore and related topics. I continued to attend every SUG in my home city Atlanta except for the one in May because that day I was in the hospital delivering a baby. 😉 This year is the year I decided to apply for Sitecore MVP to play an even more integral role in the community.
My journey with Sitecore started back when @sitecorejon introduced me to Helix, Ignition, and how to do things the right way. By then I had already taken the Sitecore online training, passed the Sitecore Developer Certification Exam, and read a great book – Professional Sitecore 8 Development – A Complete Guide to Solutions and Best Practices by @LonghornTaco and @philwicklund. Jon and @wendyderstine were the architects on my first Sitecore project; me and a colleague Maria were the developers on the team. Both new to Sitecore at the time, I came with a back end background and Maria was more of a front end developer. I was happy to hear positive feedback having delivered a good quality solution and ahead of schedule.
Being in a consulting firm with a strong Sitecore culture, I remember one day walking into our breakroom and joining the “champaign celebration” for my colleagues @sitecoregeorge and @sitecorey becoming first-time Sitecore MVPs. I knew they both were seasoned Sitecore developers and I thought to myself maybe one day I could become an MVP as well. The best part of being in the Sitecore community is people are so willing and quick to mentor and help one another. I received much advice and encouragement to become an MVP. Shout-out to @sitecorey, @SitecoreChris and @sitecorejon, for pushing me to step on the stage and make my first presentation at the ATL SUG. I am fortunate to work with so many wonderful colleagues in the same company @PRFTDigital. Shout-out to @sitecourtney for studying and co-presenting talks with me. Also shout out to @SitecoreAmy and other panelists for bringing together @womenofsitecore and making a strong representation of women in the Sitecore community.
After my first project I proceeded to develop more complex Sitecore solutions for various clients. I worked with a major law firm and provided them with localization solutions. I also worked with a major healthcare company on a multi-tenant Sitecore Helix solution with cross-site in-session personalization. At the moment I am eight months into a project to rebuild the public-facing site for a major grocery chain. As a major developer on the team, my role allows me to participate in a lot of the decision-making and implementation of the codebase. I receive consistent, positive feedback from the client on the work I’ve done and our Sitecore solutions. It’s good to see customers enthusiastic and excited about adopting Sitecore technology.
Being a Web developer requires me to stay abreast on new technologies. This year I became a big fan of Vue.js and have shared some experience on Vue integration with Sitecore solutions. I find that preparing for certification exams is a good way to immerse myself in a technology. I have passed a few certifications on subjects including developing Azure solutions (70-532) and front end development (70-480). My next certification goal is Exam 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications.
Now let’s talk more about goals! Aside from continuing to have a strong presence in the community, I have two new goals. First, I want to tap into pre-sales engineering. I know I can do the pure technical side, but I also want to learn to promote and sell good technologies like Sitecore, and enable more clients to see the business value in these technologies. Simply put, I want to be a more well-rounded technologist. Second, I want to utilize my educational background in AI and do some cool AI projects like @unaverhoeven and @maaakstiles. Especially after a chat with Una I felt motivated to work on projects using Cortex!
Most importantly, I’d like to thank one person. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish so much if I didn’t have a supportive husband looking after our baby at home while I was out Sitecoring. So, thank you Mr. Jackson! Speaking of our baby, he is just several months old and he has already taught me an important life lesson – be true to your heart and never give up on your goals; fight for it, cry for it, scream for it, and be THE BOSS!