Meet our Digital Designer and Developer, Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown is our resident digital designer/developer heroine and office cat lady. She describes herself as “a designer/developer by day, and a binge-watching movie & TV show enthusiast by night.” Outside of work you can typically find her party planning, scrapbooking, binge watching a series, or organizing her bookshelf for the thousandth time. The most recent party that she planned was a carnival-themed 50th birthday party for her father, where she built everything from the booths to the invitation design. Sarah keeps design and developing in all aspects of her life.
“Any woman pushing to be part of a male-dominated field should know that they are going to have to work harder than the guy next to them. They are going to have to show that they can do something just as good as the guys can, if not better.”
Explain your role at Mediaura…
SB: Well, my business card states that I am a digital designer and developer, which means I am the middle ground between the design and development team. A typical workday for me here at the office consists of developing websites, to doing SEO content changes, to being in a design meeting on a new project. I am sort of the floater on the team. I try to help out anywhere that I can and learn a little of everyone’s job so that I can help efficiently.
Why did you get into digital advertising and what steps did you take to get here?
SB: I joined the digital industry because I wanted to use my skills to help others. I learned to code as a teenager and I’ve always found beauty in the strangest things. The problem was I never really knew what I could do with it. I didn’t know that I could help others with their business or make their ideas come to life. For me, this industry has the power to move people and to shape the world into what we want to make it.
What challenges have you faced in this industry?
SB: The main challenge I’ve faced is obvious: I’m a female in a male-dominated field. I’m up against the stereotype of a “common” developer. Even in college, I noticed that there was only one girl developer for every seven guys (if that!). Another major challenge I face is that I am both a designer and developer. Although this gives me a creative insight when giving an already built website a facelift and helps when designing, most companies will force you to choose a side. This is discouraging because I love doing both. Choosing between these two skills is like forcing me to choose what my favorite movie is. Neither is going to happen.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
SB: I enjoy the atmosphere most of all. I feel that I am welcome to be myself and not like I have to conform to any views or beliefs about our industry. I like that we are all very open. Individually we are all very different, but collectively we all weirdly get along. Everyone here is from different experience levels, but we are all willing to help each other and push each other to be the best at our job.
What advice would you give other women who want to pursue your field?
SB: I’d flat out tell them that it’s not going to be easy. I don’t say that to discourage women; I say that to be honest. Any woman pushing to be part of a male-dominated field should know that they are going to have to work harder than the guy next to them. They are going to have to show that they can do something just as good as the guys can, if not better. In college, I put more time into learning new things outside of class than any of my peers. When you are a female developer looking for a job, you end up interviewing with a development team that is dominantly male, which can feel discouraging. You will end up having to surprise them, so keep that in mind.
What are your goals for your future in this field?
SB: I personally just want to be able to grow in this industry. I’ve never really cared for fame or fortune, I’ve always just been a hippie that wanted to help people. I find that I feel more satisfied after a project when everyone involved put in his or her best efforts and an awesome product came out of it. I would rather be known by a few people for the many things I’ve accomplished than by many people for the few things I’ve accomplished.
How do you feel being a woman has affected you in the advertising industry?
SB: I feel that times are changing. Women are really making a break in advertising. I feel very empowered and supported by everyone in our industry. However, this industry is very competitive. Regardless of gender, you are going to have to do better than your peers, and learn everything you can.
Who are your role models?
SB: I know my role models should be other designers or developers in this industry, but they’re not. My role models are everyday regular people. They are the people who have their own life struggles and who work their butts off all day. The people who even when it is their worst day, you wouldn’t even know it. The ones that don’t just do random acts of kindness on one day of the year, but everyday of their lives – knowing there is no reward for their actions; they just do it because they want to make the world a better place.