Alumni Spotlight | Irene Hawkings, Web Development

By BrainStation July 14, 2016

Click here to learn more about BrainStation’s Intro to Web Development Course.

My name is Irene Hawkings. I live on King West and I am a graphic designer! I work for Bentel Kennedy and manage their global brand program. I also freelance, which I used to do full time.

I took the web development course this winter at BrainStation – it was amazing! I decided to take the course for a number of reasons. I wanted to meet new people and network. I don’t have a creative team at work so I wanted to meet new people and learn a new digital skill – it ended up being so much more then that. This course has definitely made me a better designer and I didn’t even expect that as an outcome. It has challenged how I approach design problems – I’ve developed an empathy for the way coders think. I also now better understand what is possible in the web world and the limitations of a browser.

I did quite a bit of work and learning outside of class hours. I got hooked on web development so I did a lot of inspecting of websites. I would see a website I love and look under the hood to find out what they were doing. I became pretty hungry and curious.

The course was challenging in terms of the content. It was all pretty new to me and it is a different way of thinking that takes a lot of practice in and out of class. Slack (we used this to communicate) was really helpful because we could communicate freely and also communicate with educators outside of class hours.

My favorite part of the BrainStation experience was learning a new skill and being able to make something that works. That’s the most satisfying feeling in the world. As a designer, I usually just pass designs off to someone who makes them come alive. Having the ability to do that myself was rewarding and liberating.  Also the people were amazing.

This course has bettered me personally and professionally. I’ve started to do a lot of web development related projects at work. This course opened up gates for me to a whole new role. I’m currently working on projects in data visualization, using JavaScript libraries to take our designs to the next level – that’s the sort of crazy stuff I’m doing now which I wouldn’t have been able to do before. The things that you can do without being an expert is incredible. Now I’m blowing people away at work – I know I’m an expert, but it really does seem like magic to the outside world. I really pushed myself at work to go outside of the box of my role – the course really helped me prove to my company that I could do more and add more value.

The course has also helped me as a freelancer. I did a small project during class that I actually ended up getting paid for, so that was pretty cool. The projects I typically worked on before were design related, but now I can also complete the development aspect.

I’m trying to get some people at work to take courses at BrainStation! I’m one of the few creative people on the team, so I think it would be great for more people to learn design empathy.

Irene is a Intro to Web Development BrainStation Alumni!

Irene is a Intro to Web Development BrainStation Alumni!