Brontë Bean is a 2016 graduate of Niagara College’s New Media Web Design program and was a Web Design/Developer Research Assistant for the Research & Innovation division for eight months. Brontë is employed with design agency Redstamp as an Intermediate Front End Developer.
Tell us about where you work:
My current employer is Redstamp. They are a full-service agency based in Port Moody, British Columbia specializing in creative design, technical development, and digital marketing, and emphasize automation and innovation to help drive growth.
Describe your role and what you like about it:
My role is Intermediate Front End Developer. I started in October of 2017 just after I moved to British Columbia. In May of 2018, I moved back to Ontario and have continued to work with Redstamp as a full-time remote employee.
My job is primarily developing websites using WordPress as a CMS [Content Management System]. I work with a team of developers and together we provide clients with different web solutions, ranging from marketing emails, and microsites, to web apps. We have a lot of great clients; many coming from tech backgrounds which makes projects innovative and fun to work on. Our team is currently in the middle of creating a dynamic design system in Gutenberg, Germany.
How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped prepare you for your current role?
R&I helped accelerate my career. Before graduating, I was offered a job in my field and I credit a lot of that to the skills I learned at Research & Innovation. It gave me a taste of the industry and what typical processes may be like. I was meeting with clients, creating mockups and developing websites. I use those same core skills today at my current job.
A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?
I was able to work on a project with Niagara Sustainability while at R&I. They were a great team and it was interesting to learn all about what they do for the area. I started with creating designs, which turned into a fully functional WordPress site. It appears that they are still using much of what I worked on with R&I.
What led you to Niagara College in the first place?
I liked the idea of being at a smaller school. I toured several colleges in the area but felt I would have just been another number. I wanted to be a big fish in a small pond. Niagara College offered small class sizes with hands-on learning. Niagara also offered several opportunities to get involved in the community and work with local professionals in the same field. Through those connections and experiences, I was able to get a job upon graduating.
“Before graduating, I was offered a job in my field and I credit a lot of that to the skills I learned at Research & Innovation. It gave me a taste of the industry and what typical processes may be like.”
Most memorable experience at NC?
There are too many memorable experiences to choose just one. I met many great people at NC with whom I made many amazing memories.
A faculty member who influenced you?
I was very lucky to work with some amazing faculty. I learned a lot from my teacher and R&I mentor Mark Hardwick. He would take the time to sit one-on-one with me to work out any design or development question I had. Looking back, a lot of the core knowledge I have about the industry comes from Mark.
A mentor at R&I?
Neil Wilkinson [Project Manager] was also a great mentor. He approached all projects with a positive attitude and made sure we had what we needed to succeed. Even recently, I have seen him engage with past R&I employees on platforms like LinkedIn for potential job opportunities.
What advice would you impart on current research students or future alumni?
Have fun. Although this is work, be sure you truly like what you’re doing. Take your time learning the basics as these will be essential to your career and future learning. I started making WordPress sites while at R&I and I am still using those same skills today.
After being in the workforce, what have you learned?
The last few years have been a whirlwind of knowledge and learning. My advice would be to take things one step at a time. Learn the basics before getting into more advanced topics. I have also learned the importance of a team – everyone brings something different to the table so try to use that to your advantage to widen your skillset.
Proudest achievement since graduating?
I am very proud of how far I have progressed in my career and the work I have produced in the last few years. I have gained a wide range of knowledge and skills throughout my experience working in an agency environment.
Interests outside of work?
I spend most days on the computer so outside of work I like to enjoy the outdoors – activities include hiking with my two dogs, kayaking at a nearby lake, or spending the weekend away camping. I also enjoy arts and crafts and going to flea markets or thrift stores to add to my multiple collections of things.
If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!” ~ Wayne Gretzky
Anything else you want to say?
Thanks to both R&I and Niagara College for all the amazing opportunities I was given. I learned many valuable lessons and continue to use them in my everyday life.