Note: I wrote this entire post on my iPhone at 4:30am in an email to myself after seeing this video on why students need to be taught coding in school. Here follows my long winded narrative so…that’s that.
I hesitate to call myself a web developer or graphic designer. Because it’s a hobby. Less than a hobby because I’m not even that good. I like to golf but that doesn’t make me a golfer. I scratch around on the violin but it doesn’t make me a violinist. I’m a wannabe stumbling around on the fringes of those who actually have a skill.
Or am I?
I can’t remember a definitive moment when I said “Yes. Web development. Bring it.” It was more of a slow creeping thing. You know how you can change your background on Twitter or use special fonts on your blog? I think that’s where I started. Since I was 13 and on AIM (remember AOL?!) I’d switch things up constantly. The blanket idea being the fact that you could write in what you wanted your web page to look like. Fascinating!
It grew from there and I got an amazing opportunity to help develop an actual company’s website. I probably learned the most from that task just out of sheer necessity. The website had to work! I was getting paid to make it work!
From there I worked on small independent projects but really fell back into web design when I went to England. I had to stay a full time student but didn’t need any classes so for the first time in my life I got to pick filler classes. I could’ve taken bowling (just kidding, that’s only a real class at AU) but instead I chose to take a web development class and a graphic design/multimedia dev class. Why not indulge my passion a little?
It was scary because all the kids in those classes were all computer science majors and when they found out this lone American marketing student was in their midst, I think they all got confused. It’s okay. I was just as frightened as they were confused.
One of the tasks for the semester was that you had to design and hand code an actual working website. And it couldn’t just be any old rubbish because you got marks based on how pretty it was. From concepting all the way through to front end testing I struggled. I had some working knowledge from my summer as a faux web developer but I spent hours upon hours pouring over books and online help forums trying to figure out how to do this or that. I ended up seeing other students’ websites and earning top marks on mine. Proudest moment of my life?
Flash forward another year to today. I revisited the idea again when it came time to build my own website (launching soon!) I admit, it’s not 100% hand coded by moi because I simply don’t have the time and resources like I did when I was in England but it’s mostly my handy work. The other day I spent over an hour and a half trying to figure out why a specific function wasn’t working and eventually gave up at 3am. The next day it took me less than 5 minutes to isolate my mistake and correct it. (The power of fresh eyes!)
And that’s a prime example of why I’m not a web developer. A real web developer wouldn’t’ve made the mistake in the first place. And they certainly wouldn’t’ve spent hours banging their head on their desk and shouting “WHY?!” every 10 minutes.
But then came the tipping point: “You don’t have to be a genius to code. You have to be determined.” -Vanessa Hurst
Maybe I’m not good at web development or graphic design. My websites are probably the most rubbish ever. And yeah, it stinks to stare at Dreamweaver for hours without a heavenly hallelujah moment that solves your problem. But I enjoy the problem solving just as much as the finished product. I like the challenge. I like the smile brought to my face when I finally do get my hallelujah moment.
And maybe…just maybe…that puts me in the junior league of developers.