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08.09.23 - Makeway Culture

Meet the Maker: Buffy Esslinger

Developer, Buffy Esslinger is shown in the middle of black, blue and white sleek graphics.

An interview with our Developer, Buffy Esslinger

Role: Developer
Hometown: Chicago
Family: 11-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old cat
Fun Fact: Buffy has done stand-up comedy!

If you’ve ever dreamt of learning to code, or launching a new career of any sort, you can take inspiration from Buffy Esslinger.

Buffy’s path to full-time developer is far from typical and Makeway is better for it. She brings a perspective and creativity that comes only from her unique journey.

In this edition of Meet the Maker, we’d like to introduce you to our favorite Windy City resident, and an instrumental member of the team, Buffy Esslinger:

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How did you end up at Makeway?

My journey has been interesting. My college degree is in acting and radio broadcasting. And then at some point, I ended up going from waiting tables and trying to find gigs to working at hotels in sales and events. I did that for about seven years and then COVID happened; everything shut down and I was like, well, this is my chance to do something different that I maybe like a little bit better.

So I started looking up some free courses that were being offered because of the pandemic. I found a coding course and then, a few months later, I managed to find a mentor. A couple of years went by and ended up in the market looking for a full-time job. I started freelancing with Makeway for a couple of months and then in February went full-time.

Coding seemed like something secure, something that wasn’t going to be torn down by a pandemic. It seemed like it was always going to be relevant and there was always going to be a job available. And then the more that I got into it, I realized that my creative side could come out with problem-solving. And I’m sort of a masochist, so I really like to punish myself. And that really seemed to come through with coding!

What do you like about working at Makeway?

All of the people, of course. The company culture, the work-life balance, and the flexibility of working from wherever. And everybody’s super helpful. Coming in as a Junior Dev and someone who is very new to all of this, everybody is super great about helping me out when I need it.

“I really like Makeway’s company culture, the work-life balance, and the flexibility of working from wherever”

What type of projects are your favorite?

Ones in which I feel like I’m making a positive impact in the world. It makes me feel like even though I’m just helping with a client’s website, I’m contributing in some way to the good deeds a client is doing. So, I really enjoy working with companies that are making a powerful impact in the world.

How about from a technical standpoint, like websites versus touchscreens?

There are a lot of similarities, but one of the nice things about touchscreens is that typically you don’t have to worry as much about responsiveness. So when you’re working on a website, you have to worry about every size screen that somebody’s using and adjust it accordingly. So one of the things that I do like about touchscreens is that it’s one size. You don’t have to worry about scaling it up or down.

And then just the mentality of thinking someone’s actually physically interacting with it. We have a Purina one we’re working on, and it’s a giant touchscreen that’s the same height as a human. So buttons down at the bottom won’t make sense. Someone would have to bend all the way down to touch it. So, it’s not just a screen in front of their face. We have to think about how everything lays out and how it works with them being right there in front of it.

Buffy on a hike posing in front of a river.
What do you do for fun?

I feel like during Covid, all of my hobbies turned into inside hobbies, so I’ve tried to get back outside. Since the world has reopened, I’m starting to get back into travel. So I’m hoping that’ll be a big hobby for us to be adventuring out into the world. We also like to go camping and hiking. I don’t go to a ton of concerts but I love going to some at Wrigley Field. In June, I took my daughter to see Fall Out Boy at Wrigley, and I also saw Billy Joel at Wrigley, which was awesome.

What’s your favorite thing about Chicago?

My favorite thing is summer in Chicago. Every single weekend there’s something to do and I love it. We’re really well known for street festivals and every neighborhood is known for its own thing.

Buffy outside a concert venue in Chicago.

Buffy is an inspiration to anyone who wants to learn a new skill.

From earning a degree in acting and radio broadcasting to working as an event planner, Buffy certainly didn’t follow the “traditional” path of a developer. But we wouldn’t have it any other way!

That’s a common theme here at Makeway.

Everyone brings their own unique background and perspectives to create a diverse, dynamic culture—and stellar work for our clients!

We’re always looking to work with talented developers. So if you’d like to learn more about joining our team, visit our careers page or email us at [email protected]