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Get to Know Vanessa Better

Vanessa grew up in Fort Smith, Arkansas — bit of an older industrial town that most people outside of Arkansas haven’t heard of beyond seeing it on highway signs. She started off as a Graphic Design major at the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith and then moved to St. Louis, transferring to Maryville University in 2017 for better educational and job opportunities. After a semester, she switched her degree from Graphic Design to Interactive Design – which focused less on traditional mediums of design and was geared more towards UX/UI and coding.

Vanessa’s degree history might make it seem like she got a bit of a late start, but actually, she started coding over a decade ago, using HTML and CSS to customize profile codes and messages on forums. She didn’t fully realize the amount of scattered knowledge she had until she took one of the web courses in Maryville’s Graphic Design degree. After that, she was hooked. Vanessa has always enjoyed coding, but being able to practically apply it was a whole new rewarding experience and she knew instantly that it was the right career path.

If Vanessa could give any advice to other aspiring developers, she would say to be kind to yourself. Learning to code can be a rollercoaster of frustrating confusion and exhilarating success. Most people’s biggest obstacle is their perception of their own skill level. Even though she had the skills to be a developer and a true asset to the team, she was nervous about her amount of knowledge. Finding confidence in herself and what she could create was a critical step in growing into her current role at Matchbox and we’re beyond happy to have her!

Vanessa is one of our front-end developers. That means that she (mostly) works on code that creates what the end-user sees. She will look at a mockup of the design to see where to apply the colors, image sizes, text treatments, and other elements that you’re looking at right now!

Aside from coding, she also helps with various other miscellaneous development tasks. She loves documentation and writing about our processes and instructional guides. She’s also learning new frameworks such as Laravel and Vue that will allow her to help work on more custom applications. In short, her day-to-day usually consists of taking the crafted design and turning it into an actual, functional product.

“My favorite thing about working at Matchbox is the company’s willingness to improve. I can’t even count the number of times daily we look at something and think, ‘Hm, how can we make this better?’ The environment never feels static, and I always feel like we’re improving in some way or another. The internal communication is just stellar, and when we hit hiccups, I feel like we always try to reassess and figure out how to make it go more smoothly next time.”

– Vanessa Sickles

5 Questions With Vanessa Sickles

Q: Describe yourself in 3 words

A: “Friendly, laid-back, compassionate.”

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: “I love video games. It’s basically all I do. Mostly more chill ones – Pokemon, Stardew Valley, Starbound, The Sims, Animal Crossing, things like that. I really love the plot-heavy stuff, though, or video games with great art styles. Some of my favorite games of all time are Okami, The Last of Us, Transistor, Final Fantasy XIV, Stardew Valley, and Horizon Zero Dawn. I also love art, writing, and animated movies.”

Q: Do you have any special talents?

A: “I like to think that teaching is one of my special talents. I’ve taken up an adjunct teaching role at the university I graduated from, and it’s a very unique and fulfilling joy.”

Q: What’s the coolest place you’ve ever visited?

A: “I think the British Virgin Islands. It wasn’t really any one place — I was super grateful to get the awesome opportunity to travel with my partner’s family on a rented sailboat. We relaxed, cruised around, and swam a lot. The coolest parts were getting to see dolphins and porpoises swim with our boat, and see flying fish do the same!”

Q: What’s something awesome about you that no one else knows?

A: “I can actually lick my elbow! Totally useless, but at least somewhat neat, I guess.”