Interpreting complex data sets can seem overwhelming to some, but Stephanie Chamblee actually enjoys diving into them head first to create visualizations in a way that is easy for a user to understand. Her communications education helps her sort through the most important information, putting it front and center.
Chamblee spent the last few years in the non-profit world, most recently working abroad in Central America for an organization that had its own trip planning software. “During that time I realized there were opportunities to improve the software’s features so that it would be easier for someone in that role to navigate information,” says Chamblee. Upon her return to the States, she knew she wanted to flesh out her skills further and recently graduated from Thinkful’s Full Stack Flex Program.
“I love being able to take an idea or concept and turn it into a tool or application feature that is intuitive and helpful,” shares Chamblee. Here’s why she might be a good fit for your dev team.
Why the interest in the technology field?
My journey in web development began while working abroad in Central America as the point of communication between a non-profit organization and over 200 partners in the region. I relied heavily on the organization’s trip planning software to plan out trips for volunteer teams, converse with partners, and organize country information and logistical details for trip participants.
When I returned to the States, I began working with the web development team to build out features that made it easier to plan trips for the organization. The updates resulted in fewer mistakes in planning trips and allowed for staff to be able to manage more countries at one time. It is exciting to have the opportunity to build something that will make life easier for someone.
What projects have you worked on?
I built a weekly menu generator that uses an API provided by Spoonacular, which allows users to choose dietary preferences (e.g. gluten-free) and toggle between random recipes, search for recipes with specific ingredients or choose not to cook for a certain day and finally generate a printable version of the week’s menu using a CSS print sheet.
Another project I worked on was a blog which allows users to create an account, post or edit blogs and blog topics. The app uses MongoDB, Mongoose, Node.js, Express, React and Travis CI, Mocha, Chai and Jest for testing.
What tools are essential to you as a developer?
I love using Visual Studio Code for its extensions and features as a text editor, especially for React applications which can contain many different files through which to navigate. Google developer tools are excellent for debugging, optimizing performance, simulating different network speeds and styling elements. Postman is helpful for testing API endpoints as they are being built out for an application.
How do you stay informed of emerging trends?
I enjoy attending Meetups and local tech conferences where I can talk with other people in the tech industry and learn about the tools and technologies they are using. I am also subscribed to several YouTube channels and podcasts that help me keep up with tech news and help strengthen my skills.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
I think that my greatest technical skill is the ability to simplify complex tasks, processes and data sets for users. I was able to use this skill when integrating key performance indicators into the trip planning software. The organization started out with a spreadsheet that compiled data from several sources and displayed 20-30 charts to illustrate a snapshot of how they were doing in the areas of trip quality, finances, risk management and partnership development on a monthly basis.
The first task was separating the charts into different categories. I then wrote reporting API’s to collect the data required for the KPI’s graphs and calculated a 1-5 score for each area of concern for each staff role. That data was presented visually as a color-coded SVG doughnut chart that would indicate how the staff member is doing at a glance. I then used Chart.js to allow the user to drill down the data into more detailed charts.
What’s next on your list to learn?
I enjoy working with data — I have experience with both SQL and MongoDB and I think I would enjoy learning about GraphQL as well. I am also interested in learning about new automated testing tools such as Cypress.io. I think those tools are an efficient way to ensure that everything in a web application is working properly for its users.
Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
I believe any size company provides excellent learning opportunities and advantages. My preference is a small to mid-size company because I enjoy being involved in many aspects of the development process, from wire-framing to building an API to architecting and styling the front-end.