Jake Birkes (Wantulok)
Front End Engineer
Front End Engineer | WompMobile2019 - Present
- After a successful launch of my first two projects (Yale Locks & Carved), I joined an internal team to work on enterprise sites for Signet Jewelers (Zales, Jared, Kay). As of now, I am solely responsible for developing new features and coordinating with the client to stay in sync with bi-weekly release cycles.
Some of these features include, but not limited to:
- “Buy Now, Pick Up In Store”: When the pandemic first hit the United States early 2020, I built a feature for users to browse for jewelry online by asking permission for their geolocation to receive status updates when a product was available in a store nearby.
- “Add to Favorites”: Previously, adding products as a favorite was only possible by going directly to each individual product details page. Working with Signet’s backend team, we were able to include a favorite button anywhere including product listing pages, and submit the product data to their server via POST request. Anonymous users could add up to 10 products as a favorite using session storage, and be encouraged to create an account with their data successfully transferring over to Signet’s database.
- “Compare Products”: This feature allows the ability to add up to 5 products to compare with each other, by storing each of their SKU and handing the data off to the canonical site. There the customer can glance at specifics of each product such as stone type, weight, quality, etc.
- I led the effort in improving Core Web Vitals, with a focus on Performance, including three critical issues for Signet: First Contentful Paint (FCP), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), and Content layout Shift (CLS), along with minor improvements for Accessibility, best practices, and SEO. I am also involved in beta testing a new VS Code extension, which is a major shift away from our in-house builder and improving the overall workflow by using new front end technologies.
Some of these improvements include, but not limited to:
- Working in GitHub: When I was first hired at WompMobile, their in-house builder had a very limited version control system. A year ago, I encouraged the Signet team to migrate over to GitHub, which has significantly improved our process overall by working in separate branches and submitting Pull Requests for code review.
- Tailwind CSS: The AMP framework sets standards on validating pages before submitting to Google, one of them is a CSS budget of 75K bytes. This was solved by leveraging shared utility classes and stripping unused styles with PurgeCSS, reducing the size by at least 80% (≈15K)
- Custom Node Scripts: These were small “quality of life” improvements I made for the Signet team, such as auto-fetching sitemaps for various environments, link generation, and flags to warn developers from running into any gotchas (similar to linters).
- Additionally, I help train newly hired Support developers unfamiliar with the AMP framework and introduce WompMobile’s implementation of PWAs to identify and solve issues for quality assurance.
Web Admin & Front End Developer | PCF WebSolutions2018 - 2019
- Through networking with local businesses and entrepreneurs, I provided web services and generated steady revenue for the department. I increased the average value of websites by 600% along with ongoing services and hosting fees.
- I secured and maintained over 130 websites (WordPress & misc.), and rebuilt existing sites through a pre-built theme I designed and built from the ground up. This resulted in a significant cut in time and spending for the department from a 30 day turn-around time to a simple one-minute deploy and custom theming at an additional cost.
- I gained the trust of my employer and clientele by securing and monitoring all existing sites and checking in with everyone periodically either by phone or email. I automated monthly backups of all client data and versions of their websites — freeing up over 90+ hours of labor per month and allowing me the ability to quickly serve more customers.
- I restructured the entire development process for engineering effective websites. I increased staff productivity by introducing tools such as Slack, Asana, and Zendesk to provide better customer service. In addition, I created video tutorials to train staff members and clients who might not be technically savvy.
Freelance Graphic Designer2010 - 2018
- I provided various services to artists, businesses, and musicians in my local area to increase their presence in the community by designing numerous forms of collateral, including shirts, album art, screen prints, etc.
- I managed merchandise for artists through e-commerce sites and personally designed, developed, and handled shipping & returns.
- Through my experience as a Graphic Designer, I discovered successful marketing strategies and was able to provide tools to clients for increasing their revenue, and engagement on social media platforms. I connected clients with other vendors or promoters to further increase potential audience reach.
Current Side Projects
- I am currently taking OpenJS courses for two certifications: Node.js Application Developer & Node.js Services Developer. A lot of what I currently do involves mostly Front End. However, my goal is to transition into Full-Stack development. I see the value in specializing in Front End, but also having the ability to gain a complete understanding of any given Web Application along with backend services involved. I believe having a solid foundation in NodeJS is essential.
- Furthermore, I am building a brand-new website for the Theosophical Society in Portland, OR. This is built using GatsbyJS, NodeJS, Express, Apollo, GraphQL, and MongoDB. The site itself is built using ReactJS and its content will be managed by members using Contentful as their Content Management System (CMS). I am also building a NodeJS server to store and display library info for users on the site to reserve books online. They will also gain the ability to collect membership fees and host live events on their website as well.
Computer Networking & Cloud Computing (Focus in Programming)
Bellingham Technical College
September 2018 ~ June 2020
React JS Development
Scrimba React Bootcamp
April 2020 ~ May 2020
Windows Operating System Fundamentals