Meet Our Alumni - Nathan Jara
Manager of UI Engineering at American Eagle Outfitters
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Nathan Jara. I graduated from Saint Vincent in 2008, and I now work at American Eagle Outfitters. I am an artist who enjoys drawing, painting, photography and screen-printing. I’m also an avid golfer. I enjoy spending time with family and friends and also like to travel.
What do you do for a living?
I am Manager of UI Engineering for American Eagle Outfitters. I work at the company’s corporate office in Pittsburgh. I started at American Eagle right after graduating from Saint Vincent and have been with the company for almost six years. I began as a front-end developer, working on weekly marketing updates for AE.com. I then moved to project work, developing functionality for the website such as navigation and product browsing components. Since then, I’ve moved to a Lead Engineer role and now manage a team of UI Engineers.
Describe your typical work week.
Since moving into a management role, my typical weeks are filled with more meetings than writing code, but I still stay very closely connected to the development that my team performs. We use Mac laptops across the board as our main machines along with tablets and phones to test website code across all types of devices. For software, we use Git for source control management and use a simple text editor for actually writing code. As I’ve changed to the management side of development, I’ve found that my communication skills, (conversation/email/phone) have become invaluable for success. Not only do I need to communicate effectively to my team, but also with co-workers and business partners in other departments. Communication and understanding is key so that my development team, design teams, user experience teams and management can produce the best product, a great website experience, for our customer.
What CIS class or classes do you feel benefited you the most?
My senior project sticks out as one CIS experience that greatly benefitted me. I felt that going through the development of a project from start to finish really helped me to understand the work that’s involved in the technology field. For my project, I built a small e-commerce website so going through the work to develop the website, both backend and front-end, designing the site, writing documentation and presenting the final product really helped me to understand the lifecycle of such a project.