Interview with Angela Hanshaw, Designation Alum and Interactive Developer at Elevate Studios

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Interview of Angela Hanshaw

Angela Hanshaw, an alum of Diamond Cohort. An experienced developer coming into the program, Angela joined us to round out her design and UX skills, and landed a job at Elevate Studios shortly after graduating.

Where are you now working, and what is your job title?
I’m an Interactive Developer at Elevate Studios, a small but mighty digital agency in the West Loop.

Tell us a little bit about your new job!
As part of the front-end development team at Elevate, I help bring our designers’ ideas to life using HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

How would you describe the Designation experience?
Intense, challenging, and very rewarding.

What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
Useful: How to use Git.
Useful and interesting: Discovering how, why, and when to use jQuery .data() in a project.

“Immersing yourself in a boot camp is priceless.”

What are the people at Designation like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
Wonderfully supportive. The staff made sure that I got what I wanted out of the program and that help was available if I needed it. My fellow students were amazing — I couldn’t ask for a better (or more fun) group of people to share ideas with and learn from.

What were you doing before you came to Designation?
A little of everything in the publishing field — writing, editing, print design, and web design.

How did you hear about Designation, and why did you decide to come?
I decided I wanted to focus on front-end development, and although I had been creating sites with HTML and CSS for many years, I recognized that I needed to boost my skills in order to advance my career. I started looking into development boot camps, and stumbled across Designation. It was the only program in Chicago offering front-end, so it was an obvious choice; design and UX were a nice bonus.

How did Designation help prepare you for your new role?
I wouldn’t have gotten my current position without Designation. It gave me the chance to learn the lingo as well as work with real clients on real projects. One project in particular gave me an amazing opportunity to dive much deeper into Javascript and jQuery and resulted in a really strong portfolio piece.

What was your favorite part of the Designation experience?
It’s a tie between having a great environment to learn and grow as a developer, and the many, many games of Settlers of Catan our cohort played.

What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
Immersing yourself in a boot camp is priceless; if that’s currently not an option, then keep up with what’s happening in your chosen area through Meetups and online resources. Hear/read something that resonates with you (including interviews on the Designation blog)? Try reaching out to the speaker/author. Find companies that are doing the kind of work you’d like to do, and keep up with their press releases, blog posts, and job postings. Most importantly, never stop learning. (And keep refining that portfolio!)

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