Development Diary - Week One

This week, I experienced many a frustration, and many a "there has to be an easier way;" similar to my experience first learning the Adobe Creative Suite. Some concepts just don't come easy, but that makes the results and successes that much sweeter when they (finally) do work out. Developers know this feeling all too well: repeatedly hovering your cursor over your greatest JavaScript loading effect or CSS animation success with a stupidly large grin on your face. Am I right? Celebrating the little victories makes the many hours of trial-and-error well worth it.

In week one, we covered the basics of HTML & CSS in order to build simple, yet structurally sound websites. Having learned this material in the fall, this was a (much-needed) review of basic concepts such as divs, classes, selectors, and soft skills like personal branding, project workflow, and best practices. There is a great deal of truth to the phrase, "if you don't use it, you lose it." Over the Christmas break, I definitely lost it, along with my self-control (yum, Christmas cookies!). I vow to "use it" as much as possible over the next nine weeks and beyond.

Project One: A Reflection

I've always fancied myself a designer first, web developer second. I subconsciously approached this week's project from the same standpoint, but soon realized that in order to create an experience, the two must be in holistic harmony. I put my user experience hat on, and began to think about design and development in unison. In the process, I realized how difficult it must be for designers and developers to work on separate parts of a project in isolation, without  having a full understanding of the other's creative process and design decisions. I'm happy to be a "unicorn," despite the fact that these two sides of my brain can easily become at war with one another. They're gradually learning to get along.

Being a designer/developer feels a lot like wearing a jester hat. Every multi-colored extremity of this hat lends itself to a facet of project execution, which forces me to use a wide variety of skill sets and different parts of my brain. This is what I found to be most interesting about project one, and development in general. My whole brain is on fire with the flame of creativity, and it feels awesome.

From a technical standpoint, a few things stumped me, but I had a few mini-victories, too. Using the power of Google to troubleshoot was crucial. In many instances, I found myself stumped on a project component, only to find 10 articles on how to fix the issue, with code samples to boot. When there's a problem, the solution often isn't far beyond a Google Search.

I'm celebrating a mini-victory in itself- surviving week 1 as a happy, healthy, fulfilled & challenged developer-in-training. Now, on to week 2 at HackerYou!