Michael, a 2010 Bethany Graduate, currently works as front-end developer at Pear Tree Greetings in North Mankato, Minn.
WHAT YOU DO • • • I design and build user interfaces that are functional first, but also a pleasure to view and use. My position requires a 50/50 split between design and code – I am well versed in the latest versions of the Adobe CC applications as well as the latest trends in HTML and CSS, and use both daily. My workday is typically spent researching the latest project, building wireframes, designing mockups, coding, tossing around new ideas with the team, attending meetings, and listening to Rdio.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU • • • My interests lie at the cross-section of design and technology. The two are a dynamic duo capable of overturning industries, augmenting human ability, and simplifying lives – often all at the same time. The web is a prime example – see print media, music, film, gaming, journalism, job recruiting, and travel agencies. The web is also conducive to sharing, making it a very collaborative industry. The latest work of the top minds in the field are frequently shared and easily accessible on their blogs, CodePen, A List Apart, and in the source code of the websites they build. I’m often browsing these, as well as Dribbble for design inspiration.
HOW YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE • • • Pear Tree Greetings is a small greeting card company with a lot of room to grow. Because of this, everyone’s ideas get heard and carry significant weight. It’s an exciting place to be, and I’m looking forward to pushing them onward and upward. Beyond that, I would love to contribute to the web in some compelling way and one day speak at An Event Apart, “the design conference for people who make websites.” I’d also love to incorporate my illustration skills into my work more, write a book or two, be involved in developing an indie game, and teach.
HOW BETHANY HAS PREPARED YOU • • • While I would not be qualified for my current position solely with the skills I learned at Bethany, it did lay the groundwork for where I am now. I developed a strong sense of design that carries through into everything I do. I learned how to distinguish between good and bad feedback, and I learned how to defend my work from the bad. Most importantly, Bethany rekindled my love for learning, which led me to continue to educate myself on my own time even after graduation.
WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT BETHANY • • • I remember staying up late playing ping pong with friends while talking about Michelangelo, augmented reality, and our future plans. I remember sitting in Art History II Renaissance to Realism while Bill Bukowski showed slide after slide featuring his latest favorite animated backgrounds. I remember sticking around after class to chat with Andy Overn and a few other students about projects we were working on that were going to blow people’s minds at the upcoming art show. I remember victories and failures, fun times, busy times, all-nighters, trips with friends, and meeting my future wife.
ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS • • • First, pick a career path in a field that you care so much about, you’ll spend your free time doing more research on it. Competition is steep in the design field, so doing just enough to get a good grade will not get you far after graduation. Second, choose another industry of interest to compliment your art, design, media, or programming-related major. You’ll become exponentially more valuable, because you’ll be able to suggest and build new inventions and innovations that advance the industry in ways that few others could fathom.
View Michael’s recent work at MKnepprath.com.