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Erica Martin and Pixel Jam Digital: Thriving on Challenge

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Erica Martin, owner of Pixel Jam Digital, describes herself as an extroverted developer and professional geek who is passionate about making the web a more accessible space through education and empowerment.

“I started dabbling with digital design back in the days of AOL when users could customize their profiles using ASCII code,” she shared. “My habit of customization developed into a skill for website development so I could continue learning how to connect back-end programming to front-end design.”

After graduating from the University of Missouri with a BS in computer science/information technology plus a minor in fine art, she accepted her first “grown-up” job of developing applications for embedded systems. “However, there was very little visual output in comparison to website design, so I moved on to become a part of one of the best, in-house marketing teams at a national company. But, with great power comes little innovation; nope, that’s not a Stan Lee quote, and I eventually wanted more; more to learn, more to do, and more to know. I thrive on being challenged and solving problems, so I used my knowledge of website programming and user behavior to apply similar principles to digital marketing and began managing PPC, SEO and content strategy at an advertising agency. Yet I still craved more.

“Now, I am Pixel Jam Digital,” she enthused. “I want to provide my analytic thinking, digital development, design assets and empathy to create stronger strategies across multiple platforms for other businesses wanting to grow.”

During the ten years Erica was a professional web developer and designer before launching Pixel Jam Digital in 2018, she enjoyed her work yet didn’t feel professionally fulfilled with what she was doing. “After consulting with a fellow agency owner, I realized there was an opportunity for me to partner with other creatives to provide web development services. One of the best parts of what I do is building close friendships with my clients,” she affirmed. “Not only do I get to celebrate alongside them when their business succeeds, but I also get to celebrate with them when they get married or have a new baby. I love seeing my clients happy!”

Erica has a true support system for Pixel Jam Digital. “The highlight of my business has been having my six-year-old son be my biggest cheerleader. After all, the company is named after him!” she laughed. “He likes it when I show him different projects I’m working on, and loves when I ask for his opinion. He even carries around my business cards to hand out to people!”

As a woman in the tech field, Erica faces the challenge head on. “There aren’t yet as many female web developers out there, so I’m often working to overcome the stigma of ‘coding like a girl.’ I faced this challenge early in my college career so I already knew what to anticipate as a professional,” she noted. “I wasn’t always great at speaking up and sharing my thoughts early on, but I have grown comfortable with standing by my ideas and trusting my experience. Now if a male colleague tries to belittle me, I simply let it go.”

Building websites will be the core service of Pixel Jam Digital for the foreseeable future. “However, my goal over the next two years is to expand my knowledge and skills so that I can also provide consulting services for web accessibility,” Erica said. “With more businesses putting an emphasis on diversity, I want to provide the resources for them to offer that same level of inclusion on their website.”

She tells the next generation of female entrepreneurs, “Take your passion seriously. If you truly believe in the work that you do, then it will lead to great things.”