Lisa’s love for crafts and building things translated into a career building applications as a Technical Implementation Specialist at Unqork.
Q: Let’s start with the basics—what do you do at Unqork?
Lisa: I’ve been a Technical Implementation Specialist with Unqork for six months now. So, basically what I’m doing is configuring and creating applications using the components that Unqork has. The client’s requirements are relayed to me and I’ll create something based on whatever I receive. A lot of it’s very hands-on.
What would you say is your favorite part of your job?
Probably pair programming with my coworkers and just developing and configuring with them. There’s so much you can learn from somebody else, and there are so many areas where we excel by working together. Having that knowledge transfer is always very cool, and it’s something I look forward to a lot on a day-to-day basis.
Did you have any coding experience before you got to Unqork?
Similarly to a lot of other people who are currently working at Unqork, I went to a coding bootcamp. But before that bootcamp, I was actually an Earth sciences major. I graduated from college with a degree in Earth sciences and German studies—so after college, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with a degree in geology. I dabbled in some coding exercises online and I decided I wanted to explore that possibility.
"When I discovered Unqork, it was very exciting because now I’m able to create applications much faster."
I’ve been curious about building things ever since I was young. I love to draw, I love crafting, just DIY things like that. What interested me about coding was that I was able to create applications—which is basically like digital crafting. I think that’s something I had kind of lost sight of in college. I was just studying and working really hard, but I didn’t have that sense of creatorship. I got started in programming because I wanted to hold on to that.
When I discovered Unqork, it was very exciting because now I’m able to create applications much faster. Most importantly, I haven’t really lost that sense of feeling like I’m creating something. I haven’t lost the crafty-ness.
What’s it like to build with Unqork? When we talked to Evan Candler, another Technical Implementation Specialist, he mentioned that it helps him to physically draw out what he wants to build. Would you agree?
It’s definitely incredibly helpful to have a visual representation of what you’re going to create. I like to go into a project having a visual workflow that shows how this application is going to be used, and it’s always useful to have a frame of reference. So yeah, I would say that I do go about building with Unqork in a similar way!
What happens if you’re building an application and you find yourself in need of a component that isn’t already in the Unqork library?
From a functionality standpoint, the Unqork components are pretty robust in the sense that they each have a lot of uses. For example, you can use a short answer component and modify it so that it can fit your use case. I’d say in my own experience creating client applications, most of the functionality is there and ready to use. Sometimes we do have to work with the Styles team so they can use some CSS to mold the component to how we want it to look.
To give us an idea of the kind of work you do, can you tell us about a project you’ve worked on that you’re particularly proud of?
The project I’m working on currently is definitely a project I’m proud of! With Project Cupid, we’ve been working on delivering marriage licenses to people who haven’t been able to get them due to social distancing and shelter-in-place measures. We created a virtual city clerk and digitized the process of getting a marriage license. Before, people who were engaged had to physically go somewhere and speak with a clerk to get their marriage licenses. Now they’re able to conduct those meetings online. I think this has the potential to change the future of what it looks like to get a marriage license, even after the pandemic dies down.
Watch the above demo of Project Cupid, brought to you, in part, by Lisa Shepard.
You mentioned before that one of your favorite things about your job was working with the team—can you tell us a little bit about the larger Unqork culture?
I think in general, our culture is super open to questions and learning. We have a lot of team meetings where the floor is open for team members to essentially bring forward any topic. If you have a question about anything you’re trying to create with Unqork, there’s a smaller group you can reach out to and they’ll help you troubleshoot that problem.
There are also these biweekly meetings with the whole Implementation team called “How I Met Your Module,” and in those meetings, we learn about the components and other Unqork capabilities that we might not get to work with on a daily basis. It’s somewhere we can have more in-depth conversations than just yelling across the room to your coworker like, “How does this work?!” It’s always helpful to have a smaller group where you can have these deep dives and discuss these concepts.
As someone who pivoted from geology to technology after college, do you have any thoughts for people who might be considering getting into software development or the tech industry?
I say, just go for it. If you have that interest, then you just need to go for it and you need to see if it’s for you. If I hadn’t jumped on my interest after graduating college, I wouldn’t have ended up at Unqork. I’m very happy with what I’ve done and I’m happy that I was able to pave this path for myself. I’m excited to keep going forward.
I think that no-code is the next tech revolution and if you have any interest in it, get in while it’s hot. There’s so much promise and there are so many things you can contribute to. It’s always going to be a great time to jump into an incredible opportunity, and I really think that when it comes to no-code, we’re just getting started.