Hello! My name is Tessa and I am a Web Developer. There are so many titles and terms for what I am capable of; Front End Developer, WordPress Developer, Full Stack (LAMP) Developer, Joomla Developer, DevOps, Web Designer, UX Developer, and so on. Essentially, I have some awesome skills in a lot of areas!

I first started self-learning web development, primarily just HTML, CSS & Javascript, in 2005. My father, a business owner, needed a website and I decided it sounded like a fun challenge. I had created a few websites in high school, but mainly using the lovely drag & drop features of Geocities, Angelfire & Homestead. I have always been a person that is not afraid to dig into technology and figure out how it works. It was a complete success and I loved it. I started completing “gigs” off Craigslist, long before it was bogged down with the spam of today, and was making some extra cash on the side doing something I loved.

Around 2008, I decided I wanted to create a tournament website for Guitar Hero, the video game. At the time, there was no other site or system out there that allowed for online stats and tournaments between members playing online. I ended up installing quite a few open source CMS’ and landed on Joomla. I was clueless about PHP, MySQL and Joomla, but diving in head first worked before, so why not try it again, right? So I did. And it worked. I ended up creating a bracket-style tournament system mainly in PHP but integrated with the user registration and profile features of Joomla 1.0. It was amazing and exciting. Activision eventually ended up partnering with my website to advertise our tournaments in their online community forum and I got some really cool GH swag out of the deal too. But most of all, it was fun to build!

I started as a freelancer completing projects for various clients I would stumble upon and later working on some cool projects with some great agencies as a contractor. I then moved into more of a full-time, permanent role place in my life. I worked for a Member Management Software company integrating .Net software into client’s pre-existing websites, meaning I touched just about every CMS & coding language under the sun. Next, completing a 6 month contract at a corporate food company creating 6 new websites and establishing standards for future projects. I then moved on to building an entire team of people in an agency-like setting building websites and ecommerce stores for various clients. Afterwards, relocating to the Twin Cities to take on more advanced development roles including a Lead Developer for a creative agency in Minneapolis & a Senior Front End Developer at a Fortune 100 company.

I now have over 11 years of front-end development experience, 8 years of LAMP stack experience (including Joomla 1.0 to 3.6) and 7 years of WordPress & Drupal experience. Throughout this time I have had the pleasure of learning so many great things, way too many to name, but I will try to touch on most of them;

  • Kept my code organized using version control – SVN & Git
  • Mastered Linux Servers – cPanel, Server Setup & Management, WHM, WHMCS, SSH & more.
  • Worked on 50+ Content Management Systems including Open Source & Commercial and all spectrums of coding languages.
  • Learned the in’s and out’s of Social Media as it relates to web development specifically integration of feeds & data.
  • Became a pretty fantastic designer – I love to code but there is also a special spot in my heart for web design & branding.
  • Gained skills in marketing & company branding through exposure to many different industries and company sizes.
  • Perfected the art of writing HTML emails – this is not a task that should be taken lightly.
  • Lead a team of 10+ designers, developers & project managers as well as established policies and systems.
  • Fell in love with Twitter Bootstrap, Less/Sass and other great tools that make my life easier and more organized and help me build fantastic responsive & mobile-friendly websites.
  • Familiarized myself with SSL Certificates, Payment Gateways & Shopping Cart Systems like Magento, Shopify, Volusion, Virtuemart, WooCommerce & more.
  • Created my own custom WordPress & Joomla theme using Bootstrap and some other great libraries I love that allows me to create a very custom & task-specific environment for those CMS’s.

Outside of my professional career, upon moving to the Twin Cities, I got involved with Girl Develop It Minneapolis, starting off as a teacher’s assistant, then creating curriculum and teaching classes on HTML, CSS, Javascript, WordPress and more, to eventually becoming a Chapter Leader. I am in the process of stepping down from my Chapter Leader role to continue to build an organization to teach kids to code. I love to spend time mentoring and teaching others, as well as helping those less fortunate. I volunteer with a couple local dog rescues helping place dogs into their forever homes. I am married and have 3 children (+1 step son) that I love more than anything in this world. I enjoy being outdoors, watching movies, playing games and staying up-to-date on the latest & greatest web technologies.