Mark Mansfield: People Person and Artist
Cloud Wise Academy Student
“I’m a people person,” Mark Mansfield says. “I’m an extravert. Which is kind of funny for someone taking a coding class because it’s usually introverts doing that.”
Mark Mansfield is a student of Cloud Wise Academy’s first web design course. For 18 years he’s done social work for those with developmental disabilities and those who are underprivileged, a task which makes excellent use of his prodigious people skills. But he tries to bring an attitude of joyfulness to whatever he does.
He explains, “I take my job seriously, I take what I do seriously, but I just enjoy having fun in life. There’s been a lot of hard strife I’ve had to pass through to get to where I am now, and you can’t take those too seriously. You have to take them with a grain of salt.”
Recently, a lot of his joy in life has come from his foray into the world of software. “My wife loves having me come home and explain to her what I’ve learned and showing her, ‘Hey look, I can push a button and it does this.’ It’s actually excited me. I’m in kind of a burnout phase right now with one job. Now I’m looking forward to the future.”
Like many in the class, Mark has some artistic skills and has been looking for a career with more opportunity for creation. He is a beginning DSLR photographer and also enjoys working with his hands – a skill that translates into the online world in ways that surprised him. “You’re building,” he said, on the topic of web development.
He also believes that the world of web design needs someone like him who can make that work comprehensible to people who do not consider themselves particularly technical. I [talked to] my wife, who is a former teacher, and she asked, ‘So what is a web page?’ And I said, ‘It’s an outline, and you just kind of fill in what it needs to say.’ And she goes, ‘Oh okay.’ I see myself as someone who could de-mystify websites and de-mystify the tech side of things.”
The abundance of visual and social aspects in the web design world may have been what surprised him most when he first started the course. When he first signed up he did not have concrete expectations that he might make a career change, but, he says, “The first night, Jared came in from JCI Marketing and I was just impressed with his enthusiasm, his vigor, and I could see where I could possibly fit into a company structure like that.”
Asked about his favorite subject in the class, he mentions the Jumbotron, a splashy and mobile responsive object often used as the home page of a site. For his class project he is building a gallery of his own photographs.
Though Mark is new to the world of web design, he points out that traditionally when he does something, he does it for the long haul. “I worked for my dad for 20 years, starting at age 14,” he says. “I’ve been at this current job for 15 and a half years. So it’s not one of those things where I try to jump from job to job—if I’m at a job, I try to take it seriously and learn.”
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