Liz Mackie

AcquiaU Session: 
2014 Winter Session

Not a crazy web developing cat lady yet...

I come from the communications and marketing field with a web and design background. I learned HTML in 1999 as a hobby and it had always been an edge in getting the jobs I wanted. Several years ago I took a web coordinator position and inherited a website boasting literally thousands of static HTML pages built through DreamWeaver’s graphic user interface and it became apparent that I was going to need to expand my web toolbelt to make the site sustainable - and fast. Researching content management systems, I discovered Drupal and quickly became an adept site-builder and passionate Drupal fan, getting involved in local conferences such as Design4Drupal Boston, DrupalCamp NH and Drupal Camp Western Mass. Soon Drupal extended beyond the boundaries of my job and became a hobby too. After being promoted from coordinating websites to managing communications and outreach in my area at Harvard, I had less time to build and maintain Drupal sites. This was the catalyst for my realization that I needed to make a career change and spurred me to leave communications to pursue a Drupal career.

I job hunted online and clumsily handed out my resume to anyone who would take it at Drupal camps but to no avail. I had no self-confidence having been self-taught in a vacuum and didn’t know how to break into the field. I didn’t know if I was doing things right or wrong and I was worried I’d embarrass myself. But then I saw AcquiaU come across my LinkedIn feed and knowing about Acquia from my involvement in the Drupal community I thought, “That’s what I need to do!” I was still anxious and nervous to put myself on the line so I reached out to an old school friend who I recently found out was working at Acquia. “Yes, do it,” he told me and gave me an overview of the organizational culture and environment. It sounded like a great fit.

I am writing this in the seventh week of the program and I have absolutely no regrets. In addition to the great curriculum and great climate, I am surrounded by Drupal experts and mentors galore. There are always people to answer my questions and even unsolicited support offered at meetings or in the lunch room. I have no doubt that I have made the right choice as scary as it was to make a mid-career change and I’m excited one year, two years, or 10 years down the line to think back on this experience and where the path I followed led.