Academy Alumni Spotlight: Rachel McFadden

Rachel McFadden will be the first to tell you that with a Masters in Engineering and a degree Civil Engineering, it’s hard not to embrace critical thinking, logic, and reasoning. With each Drio project, Rachel applies left-brain dominance to her work. It is great for clients to know that “under the hood” online strategies are well conceived and applied. But don’t confuse Rachel’s tendencies for all things analytical, it’s her ability to see how online functionality needs to work in a creative world.

Tell us a little about your professional background before participating in the Betamore course(s)

I began my career after college as a Civil Engineer. For the majority of my career, I worked in Construction Management. After my second child was born in 2011, I was looking for a career change. I wanted something that would allow me to have a more flexible schedule in order to balance my work and family life. I began exploring the web world a few years before my second child was born through a blog that I set up about my journey in motherhood.  

What led you to pursue a different set of opportunities?

The blog was a catalyst that taught me some of the background that I needed to know to design and develop websites as well as the tools for internet marketing. At the end of 2011, I decided to ask a few women that I was close with if they were interested in building a business around web design/development and online marketing. It was then that Drio was born.

Why did you choose to attend a course at Betamore? What about Betamore set it apart from other learning options you were exploring?

I chose to attend to the Front-End Web Development course in 2014 to receive some formal training. Before finding the courses at Betamore, I searched around at local colleges for some web development courses but found little that would meet my needs. Some of the college courses required pre-requisites and would be a more expensive and time-intensive road to go down. Betamore was a wonderful resource for a new company looking to make connections in the tech world, and I luckily already knew about them after 2 years of working in the tech field. When I found out that they were offering several continuing education courses, I jumped at the opportunity to sign up.  

What did you hope to achieve by taking the course(s)? Did the experience surprise you in any way / lead you down a path you weren’t expecting? If so, how?

I decided to take the Front-End Development course to grow my knowledge about web-development. Being entirely self-taught, I was excited to be enrolled in a course and to learn from a professional who had been working in web development much longer than myself. By taking this course, I hoped to achieve a well-rounded knowledge of the website development process and to be able to implement this process on projects that Drio was working on.

Tell us a little about the instructor’s style/learning environment? Did it match your learning style? If not, why?

The instructor began the course with lecture slides and some of the basics of web development. His style of teaching changed with the needs of the class to be more hands on. We worked together on developing some websites, working with Photoshop, CSS, HTML, and Javascript. I really enjoyed the hands on learning since I was most interested in using what we were learning on a daily basis at my day job.  

What types of opportunities have you pursued as a result of completing the Betamore course? Did taking the course at Betamore help influence your decision-making? If so, how?

I was a unique student in my class in that I was already working on developing websites on a daily basis. I have continued to grow and expand my web development knowledge to fit the needs of my business. The course at Betamore gave me the confidence to pursue new and more elaborate development projects.

What advice would you give to another student looking to take a Betamore course? Would you recommend this course or instructor to anyone else?

The courses at Betamore are like any college or continuing education course, you will get out of them what you put into them. If you can dedicate the time and energy required, you will get a great take away. I would highly recommend the courses to anyone who is looking for a career change or a new skill set. Your relationship with Betamore won’t conclude with the end of your courses. You can continue to stay involved with them and find a community of support.

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