I interviewed Lisa Godare from Freeflow Digital. She is a Drupal Developer. More specifically she is essentially a lead developer. She works with their clients to find out what it is the client is looking for and then sets up estimates on how long the project will take for them. She then assigns work to team members.
Lisa told me of how when she was in the process of being hired she likely would not have been hired due to a lack of experience in what they were looking for. What caught Freeflow Digital’s eye is that she had a specific certification. She had the Acquia certified Drupal developer certification. That is something that is really hard to obtain unless you know what it is you are doing. I asked her how important that certification is. She first said that it used to not be important because it used to not even be a thing. At the time of her acquiring the certification it had only existed for about six months. The person going through the resumes knew how hard it is for someone to obtain the certification. All because of that he went to the CTO and said that they needed to interview her. She got hired because of a skill she just happened to learn along the way of her career.
Lisa says that individual technology skills can be, and usually are, better than an actual degree. It helps to have a degree. It ties all the skills you might have together. She also says that it can be a big help to have a degree when you don’t have any real experience. Lisa then goes on to note that when she was my age there weren’t any degree’s out there in her field and everyone had to learn on their own.
Freeflow Digital exclusively takes clients that are non-profit organizations. Sometimes they take on government agencies. Often times their websites are developed towards fundraising. However, their sole focus is not building sites for fundraising. No matter who their client ends up being they always make sure that they agree with their cause. In addition to that, when choosing a client they make sure that the client would even be able to afford their services. The work that Freeflow Digital does is really expensive.
Lisa never specifically said this, but I have inferred that as you get your name out there you really get to pick and choose your clients. You have the ability to only take on clients that you want to take on. That is something to look forward to as a beginning artist.
A lot of the websites that Lisa has worked on has been building them from the ground up. As far as designing them the client often already has an old site with design ideas they want to keep. Lisa and her co-workers are then tasked with building a new site using their tools to build something similar and more to their liking. Many of their clients are what she calls retainer clients. They have already come to Freeflow Digital and have already gotten a new site from them. The retainer clients are the websites that get updated from what Freeflow Digital already created.
One of the pieces of advice that Lisa gives is to make sure you are in a company culture that you like. For her and many of her co-workers, they get to work from home 100% of the time, and they love that. She loves the environment that her and her co-workers have created.
Another piece of advice that Lisa gives is to get a GitHub account and to post code samples there. That shows that you can do the job even if you don’t have any professional experiences. Being able to show that you can do the job is hands down the most important thing when searching for a job. As far as web programming goes GitHub is the best way to do that. Fill it up with stuff that you’ve done even if it doesn’t seem relevant. She goes on to say that this is important for any job in the media world. Have a portfolio that employers can look at.
Lisa’s final piece of advice is to network with people. For her specific Drupal certification there are Drupal meetups that happen frequently in most big cities. Networking is a great way to learn new things about the field you are in. For her job networking is really important and she goes on to say that it can even be more important than having a nice resume.
By: Tevin Goddard