Web Development Professional

Kristen and her son in 2021

I began developing my first site in pure handwritten HTML (in Notepad) back in 1997. The main purpose of this first attempt at coding was to give more expression to my written poetry with graphics and colors. I quickly learned basic HTML and moved to the styling elements that were available at the time.

I stayed on top of current technology ever since and have enjoyed the advances, especially in dynamic content and screen optimization. Writing the code just came naturally, the languages seemed to make sense to my brain and it just “clicked”.

I began working as a freelance web developer in 1999. Most jobs were small little sites but I enjoyed the work. I was hired as Lead Web Developer by DBS Services in 2006. I continued with that company, taking on more responsibilities and learning more as I went along. By 2007, I was performing my duties as Lead Web Developer as well as Systems Administrator, managing their Linux servers and Barracuda email spam filters. I developed and deployed websites for several banks during my time with DBS through their partnership with the Community Bankers Association of Illinois. I also developed a custom prototype website for The Corkscrew Wine Emporium that integrated their online e-commerce system with their in-store Point of Sale and inventory system, custom-coded in PHP, MySQL, and VB.NET. Technology has progressed quite a bit since those days, but it was one of the first full POS and Ecomm integrations that I am aware of!

By the middle of 2008, I had to return home due to a family emergency. I resumed freelance work until the birth of my son in 2009. My husband and I decided that it was best that I take time away from the workforce for a few years to care for our son.

A few years turned into several more when we decided to homeschool. Through the years, we discovered our son is on the Autism Spectrum and has several special needs. He needed more attention than I could give if I was working, so I remained out of the workforce. Now he is old enough that I am able to return to work, albeit working from home.

During my time out of the workforce, I developed my personal website, Digital Kristen, which I have recently redesigned. It has always been a WordPress site, a platform that I have learned to love over the years and become intimately familiar with. I enjoyed learning Photoshop and Premier Pro to work on personal projects and some more professional projects for friends. 

On a personal level, I am a muscle car enthusiast and own a 2015 Dodge Challenger that I enjoy displaying at car shows. I enjoy live music and have attended dozens of live concerts. My hobbies include spinning yarn, weaving, knitting, crocheting, leatherwork, beadwork, and Indigenous American crafts. I am a member of the SCA, Society for Creative Anachronism, and enjoy participating in their events. I am a proficient seamstress and enjoy making period-appropriate garb for SCA and Renaissance Faire events. My husband and son are Indigenous Americans from the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and we enjoy attending PowWows together.