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Tell me about your work: Patrick Carr

Tell me about your work is a new interview series published by the Division of Jazz Studies at UNT. We're interested in knowing more about the work life of our alumni, what role their musical education plays in the work they do, and what their musical lives are like now. Knowing this will give current students a broader sense of the career paths they could follow, and could suggest ways to prepare for them while they are still studying at UNT.
John Murphy
Chair, Division of Jazz Studies
UNT College of Music


Patrick Carr

B.M. in Jazz Studies, 2013; M.M. in Jazz Studies, 2015

Patrick Carr seated at his desk in a cubicle with ecommerce site on the computer monitor

What is your job?

I am a Front-End Web Developer for Sally Beauty’s digital commerce team.

How did you get it?

I found a listing for the position on indeed.com and submitted my resume and application online. I interviewed with my current boss and the Vice President of Ecommerce. After a few days I sent a follow up email with some of my thoughts on website improvements (one of the interview questions, which I felt I could have done a better job answering), and they offered me the job shortly after that. I later found out that the follow-up email is what made them decide to hire me; if I hadn’t sent that email, I probably would not have gotten the job.

How did you prepare for it?
I started out by learning the basic building blocks HTML and CSS on codecademy so I could build a website for our wedding announcement. I also found a free non-profit online bootcamp called Free Code Camp, which taught me more javascript and problem-solving through algorithms. By the end of the program I had built a few small example apps that demonstrated my skill set.

What’s a typical day like?

A typical day is mostly taking Photoshop mockups and converting them into live web assets. I also write scripts to automate repetitive tasks like resizing/compressing images.

What do you find most rewarding about it?

I really enjoy the problem-solving aspect of the job. Each project is a puzzle with many different possible approaches, and it is a lot of fun to try to create the best user experience possible while keeping page speed as high as possible.

What do you find most challenging about it?

I find that when working for a large company there is a lot of waiting involved. With so many moving pieces, large-scale changes are expensive and slow-coming, so it can be frustrating to deal with problems that exist for so long without being fixed because of these limitations.

What role, if any, did your musical education at UNT play in preparing for or getting this job?

I was told in the interview that without prior experience in this field my resume was not particularly impressive, but when they saw that I had a master’s in jazz it piqued their curiosity, so it effectively got me the interview. My music education also has taught me to be very self-managing, which has certainly helped me keep the job. My boss really appreciates that I can plan and work through entire projects without constantly asking for clarification or help, which is a valuable quality in an employee.

What might you have done differently during your time at UNT if you knew you would be doing this sort of work now?

I might have used one of my electives on a computer science course to get a deeper understanding of the actual science behind everything.

What presence does music have in your life now?

I still perform regularly and teach lessons in the evenings. My gigs are mostly on the weekends. The trickiest part of this has been finding enough time to practice as much as I would like. I am still working on finding that perfect balance.

What else would you like readers to know about your work?

Don’t be afraid of these day jobs! It’s true that they limit the time you have during the day to devote to your projects, but I can say from personal experience that it has been very liberating to have a dependable paycheck that allows me to invest in my music and myself without feeling guilty.

What other jobs have you had since leaving UNT?

This is the first full-time job I have held since graduating.