DAC Alumni News and Profiles: Doing What in the World?!

Are you a DAC alum? We want to know and share what our alumni are doing out in the world with their DAC certificates or DAC degrees. Send us a note (dac-info@uwm.edu) if you’d like to be featured or to nominate a DAC alum to be profiled.

Our next DAC Testimonial comes from Jessica Knaak. Jessica graduated in 2014 with a degree in Information Science & Technology and a certificate in Digital Arts & Culture.


DAC: What’s your title and where do you work?

Application Developer at Ascedia.

DAC: Can you describe your job–what are few of the things you do on a day-to-day basis?

We are a full service digital marketing agency so we work with our clients to find them the best solution for the business. I work with Strategy, Design, Front End, Back End and SEO experts every day in a true team atmosphere. On a day to day basis, I develop .Net custom Kentico (CMS) solutions, but I also have a lot of meetings to make sure our teams and our clients are all on the same page.

DAC: Did you imagine that you’d be doing this work when you were in school or recently graduated? How did you know, or what was different than you expected? What has changed, what do you think will remain the same?

No, I actually only wanted to do front end development and have moved away from it now completely. I found that the functional problem solving of back end development allowed me to use my creativity to find solutions that would fit the client’s budget and project needs.

DAC: How did DAC prepare you for the work you are doing now, the job market in general, and/or help you land your current position?

I describe myself as a developer that understands design. It helps every day that I understand how design works the and the best way to have the front end of a site interact with the user. It is also very helpful that I know Photoshop and illustrator as I can help out for little jobs and when in a pinch.

DAC: What advice would you give to someone considering a degree or certificate in DAC?

The more well-rounded of a developer you can be, the better. Yes, you should specialize in something however, understanding how every part of a project works will not only allow you to give your clients the best product, but also open up great opportunities for you in your career.

DAC: What’s something cool you’re involved with?

I am the team lead for my church’s social media. We take care of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter running different campaigns and getting people involved throughout our community. The best part about this, is that I would not be able to be as successful as I am in this area without my DAC certificate. It really helped me expand my knowledge of not only the technological aspect of photography, imagery and editing but also the culture of art and technology and how to attract and promote ourselves through social media.

I used to be involved with Girls in Tech (GiT). Girls in Tech is a national organization so the Milwaukee chapter has the support and resources of great women from all over the nation and it’s expanding beyond the United States. In my time at UWM, I noticed that the biggest struggle for women wasn’t the work itself but the culture and confidence. Girls in Tech is a safe place for women to learn and gather with other like minded women. They not only have their own events and structure but also give opportunities for women to gather together and join in a Meetup that is already happening, taking out that ‘I don’t want to go by myself’ factor.