I believe, in some strange way, I was always destined to go into web development. I have always veered my interests towards design and filled my hobbies with creative outlets. I started with an Etsy Shop called DeanFred Rex Prints that allowed me to create digital posters for my favorite movies, television shows, and books. I had only briefly used PhotoShop and Illustrator a few years back in school, and had never really used them to power my own interests – only assignments given in my courses. While I didn’t have the funds to go full Adobe Suite, I did want to use a graphic illustrator to put my creativity to use. I found a free illustrator program called Inkscape and put it to work. To be honest, I was pretty surprised with how fast I was able to pick it up. I just sort of taught myself some basics and dialed any advanced commands I was looking to do into Google for help forums. Little did I know that this little hobby would eventually drive me to pursue a career in web design and development.
I had been doing the Inkscape thing for a while when an opportunity came up at work to re-design the website. The quotes that we had gotten from web design firms were outrageous for our small start-up company (as then I didn’t really know what went into such a task i.e. man hours, expertise, etc.). I had heard of SquareSpace, from nearly every single podcast ad in the universe, so I told my boss that I’d be comfortable taking that little project off their hands. Had I ever used SquareSpace before? Well, no…But, as I was coming off my high of learning Inkscape so quickly, I figured “how hard could it be?”
The short answer: Not that hard, depending on how much Googling you’re willing to do. I started to really get into the design of the website, using SquareSpace’s platform to build it while using Inkscape as a pseudo-photo-editor and illustrator. It was starting to come along, and I was understanding the SquareSpace commands more and more, but I began to get super frustrated by its limitations. Now, SquareSpace is an incredible CMS that makes it pretty easy to build a great looking website, but I needed more. I started going online and learning about injecting custom HTML and CSS into the site. Truth be told, I was copying and pasting tags that I had no earthly idea about, but I was able to get them to work. And that…is when I figured it all out. “What if I could learn this…I mean, REALLY learn this and use my skills to create incredible websites?” Great idea! But, I didn’t really know where to start. So, what was I to do?
Read my next post for how I REALLY started learning web development.