Hello, my name is Rachel Dotey, and I have been developing websites and software for over a decade. During that time I have gained experience across a broad range of technologies and development methodologies. I use industry best practices, like simplifying code with Object Oriented Programming (OOP) and Model View Controller (MVC) logic, and of course leaving informative commenting for other programmers.
To be well rounded, I stay up to date on new industry technologies and tools. This allows me to find more efficient development methods that present beautiful and efficient solutions to thorny problems. Some of the solutions I’ve found include project and resource automation tools such as NPM, Composer, Bower, Grunt, and Jenkins. I am very talented at learning new languages and frameworks through self-directed study.
For more read my article 5 Principles of Good Programming.
My Favorite Experience
Freelancing and Contract Work
I’ve been freelancing as a web developer since I graduated from Hartwick College in 2008. Originally I offered custom ASP.Net/SQL websites but I quickly moved into the open source world (PHP/MySQL) and now encourage my clients to use a content management system when appropriate. Most find WordPress to be a great fit for their business, however if a more robust tool is needed, I also work in Drupal, Joomla, and Moodle. I develop themes and plugins for all four of the CMS’s.
Additionally I contract as a full stack software developer where I uncover user requirements, manage my own projects, track time for billing, and provide support for my products. When working independently I like to use Trello to manage my sprints. If collaborating with other developers, sometimes international, I prefer to use Agile Software Development / SCRUM to manage projects, and GitHub or Jira to track project tickets.
My first position in higher ed. was as an Adjunct Lecturer in Computer Science. I enjoyed teaching so much because it allowed me to look at problems from the fresh perspective of the student; something I couldn’t do unless I re-programmed my brain back to factory settings. Students ask questions that I never expected, requiring me to think outside of the box, and having explain things in several ways thus enhancing my communication skills.
“Docendo discimus,” (Latin “by teaching, we learn”) is a Latin proverb. ~ Wikipedia
Currently I still work in higher education as the Digital/Web Development Specialist where I plan, implement and manage all digital/web solutions that further Hartwick College’s goals, engage site visitors and enhance the overall user experience. I collaborate with project teams from all departments as well as external vendors, to quantify effort, establish time-lines, and deliver solutions. Negotiating with colleagues and stakeholders to arrive at the best solution.
Lastly I participate on the Staff Council Professional Development Committee where I present workshops to faculty and staff to enable them to work more efficiently. Workshop topics this year have included Communicating with Students, Email Copywriting, and Time Management Techniques.
Internet Marketing and SEO
As a freelancer I do not just supply my client with a product and walk away. I also help clients with the launch of a product, often creating a pre-launch hype by driving traffic to a splash page during product development. After launch I assist users with employee training on their new system, and getting them started with a basic marketing plan outlining email and social media marketing goals.
Additionally I provide Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services to clients with existing websites. I’m able to make theme edits to make websites more search engine friendly as well as enhancing the quality and quantity of the copy on websites. Google Analytics is leveraged to track key performance indicators and view improvements in traffic and bounce rates.
Working with Hardware
Building a computer is like a geek right of passage, and so is becoming tech support for your whole family. Thusly, I have built several computers and debugged many, many, more. Basic security and system maintenance has become a type of second nature to me.
Understanding how a computer works is similar to knowing how a car runs, while you do not have to understand the mechanics of a car to drive one it does make you a more knowledgeable driver who can detect impending issues before they become blow outs on the highway. Similarly knowing whats under the hood of a computer makes you a well rounded programmer who may be able to detect bugs and inefficiencies before they become full errors.
For more about my experience and qualifications please take a look at my resume.