Tell us about yourself
My name is Kenneth Elliott and I’m a professional web developer and digital brand consultant for BKreative Media Solutions. I have been developing websites for over 20 years (back when people preferred AskJeeves over Google). My first website was created using Microsoft Word (I know, HTML websites in Word) and uploaded to the website service Angelfire owned by Lycos.
Currently, I manage and maintain over 45+ clients on a yearly basis for BKreative Media Solutions and work at a law firm managing 3 websites and completing different technical and coding projects.
How did you first get started in your career in tech?
Funny thing, even though I first learned to build websites in 1998, I didn’t realize there was money in it until I was approached by a college student 6 years later to code a local nightlife website. Four months later after that partnership fell through (because he wasn’t paying me my worth), I decided to take his idea to a national scale. Think the nightlife version of Facebook. This forced me to learn PHP & MySQL on the fly. Eventually, we sold that business to a company out of state looking to lure advertisement revenue from Anheuser-Busch.
I didn’t get my first “real” job in tech until 6 months after I graduated from college. Back in 2008, most companies used your GPA as a barometer of your coding talent. Also, with an unforeseen recession looming, most companies weren’t looking to add new tech employees at that time. Fortunately, I was given my first tech position at the same full-time that I work at today.
What are the most important skills in your current position? How did you develop these skills?
My most important skill is the non-technical skill of talking professionally and thinking logically. Working in a law firm for 10+ years has taught me how to explain important coding and programming logic to stockholders without offending or undermining them. As developers, simplistic coding can sound high-end to the non-technical person, and it is our job to help them understand the logical “why” and eliminate the confusion by seeing it from our viewpoint.
What are some resources that helped you in your journey in tech?
In my earlier years, I relied on viewing other websites’ source code to learn how to program items onto my website. It was very difficult, but not having a tutorial made me focus on figuring out why that code worked. Today, I’m always on W3Schools, Stack Overflow, and CSS-Tricks. Plus, I follow amazing designers and developers on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for inspiration.
What difficulties did you face in your career? How did you overcome them?
My biggest hurdle in tech was lacking the desire to learn more. Once I got a job and solidified some freelancing clients, I stopped learning more about the technology and started focusing more on the money. After a while, I stopped keeping up with new programming languages and found myself and the languages I knew obsolete. It wasn’t until I attended a WordPress conference (WordCamp) in Atlanta in 2016 that I regained my zeal for learning again. Always focus on the technology and the money will come.
Looking back on your career, what advice do you wish someone had given you that would have helped accelerate your career?
My biggest advice is don’t tech alone. While there is a vast amount of technical resources available for learning code, connecting and collaborating with fellow peers is more fun and rewarding. That peer becomes your educational, motivational, and inspirational coach and will make you accountable for your personal and professional goals. If you don’t have a close peer, reach out to a mentor, role model, or even me on social media. Everybody in this profession is eager to help you succeed.
The best thing you can do for your tech career is to never give up. Nobody in tech has all the right answers. We have all had bugs, had to debug and troubleshoot problems, felt lesser than someone else, and had to ask for help. Regardless of how you feel, don’t ever give up on your dreams to become a programmer.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. How can we support you?
Thank you for taking the time to hear my story. If you or anyone you know is looking for a down-to-earth creative and tech speaker for an upcoming conference, please reach out. I would love to continue sharing my knowledge and insight to assist the community.