December 31, 2014 |

And so it begins. For this first entry in the blog, I’d like to journey back through the year in web development services at Cedarville University. One year ago today, I was the only full-time staff member on the webdev team after the resignations of both of my co-workers in 2013. Lots of patience from clients and a crackerjack team of students helped me get through this exhausting period of work.

Fast forward a few months and my team was once again fully staffed. I welcomed Josh Erlandson and Bill Rubosky to the team, as designer/developer and app developer respectively. There were many systems to train them on and an overwhelming amount of work to be done. They managed to stay above water after feeling like being thrown in the deep end of a pool, and began being productive members of the team.

Shortly after they arrived, we found out that our team was moving divisions to become part of the enrollment management and marketing team at the university. Moving from IT to marketing isn’t unheard of in business nor in higher ed—in fact one of my new hires had gone through a similar transition at his former employer. Now that we have officially been out of IT for 6 months., the initial shock is over, and we have definitely seen improvement in how we work with others in our division, especially the director of marketing, content and social media professionals, designers and web project overseers.

In the web world, very few things remain stagnant. Our virtual world is increasingly social (less so in the physical realm? perhaps a future post…) and mobile. According to our Google Analytics for the university websites, mobile devices viewed more than twice as many pages in 2014 than the year before. In the last 90 days, these devices account for more than 15% of all web sessions.

Partly due to this constant flux, I am a firm believe in professional development. Individuals on our team were able to attend one conference or training session this year, which included An Event Apart, Sitecore, and the HighEdWeb annual conference. Each of these touched on various aspects of what we do—front-end development, back-end programming, client interactions, marketing, writing skills, web analytics, social media integrations, project management, responsive design, mobile needs, etc.

2014 was a year of transition (as was 2013). I believe 2015 will be the year of opportunity. Opportunity to better engage our customers; to work more closely with our distributed campus content editors; to explore new designs and technical integrations; to become more sophisticated at working closely with analytics; to streamline and emphasize mobile-first development.

As we close the year and begin anew, I’m thankful for the road we’ve traveled. Thankful for those that have come to fill the empty offices. Thankful for the students that are a great asset and help us keep things running more smoothly. And thankful to God for His provisions and blessings along the way.

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