One Year Out

June 3, 2019

It's been a little over twelve months since I decided to take web development seriously. A lot has changed in that time in a lot of different ways. I started a podcast with two extremely knowledgable developers and learned a lot during its existence (more on that in a bit), I transitioned to my first developer role, I've grown as a developer in general, and perhaps the biggest one is that I became a dad! So, yeah. A LOT has changed.

I'm writing this article to reflect on some of the growth I've experienced in hopes to learn more from it and to maybe show others that it may not happen overnight, but it will happen before you realize it.

Starting a Podcast

I believe it was March of 2018 when the first CodeView episode went live. I approached two of my developer friends (one who already has a successful podcast) about starting CodeView with the theme of the show being me asking them questions about their earlier days of learning code to gain insight on what to expect and how to deal with it when it comes.

We had some great conversations and I learned a lot from the experience. One thing we always made it a point to do was to explain any tech jargon we used so that even right-in-the-door developers could understand, or at least have an idea, of what was being discussed.

We reached a total of nine episodes before the birth of my daughter - at which point I made the decision to put the show on an indefinite hiatus. There have been talks of spinning the show back up but for now, it doesn't feel right to ask them to dedicate their time to record if I can't guarantee that time won't be interrupted. The episodes were available for a while on most podcast platforms but I think they've been pulled down as our hosting service has been canceled for now.

If you're interested in hearing any of the episodes then send me a message through the contact form and we'll see about getting them to you.

Transitioning to a Developer Role.

I was extremely lucky to land an internship as a designer with a local marketing agency and that eventually led to a full-time position. When the creative director told me they were looking for a junior developer I quickly threw my name into the hat (and reminded them constantly it was in there).

It took some convincing though. I came to them as a very green designer with NO code experience and now I was trying to convince them that I was worth the gamble. Luckily, I had been working through Freecodecamp's curriculum and had some of their certifications to show that I had invested some of my personal time to learn code as well. I think that really eased their minds in the decision they made.

So, here I am ten months later writing code every day! Living the dream, as they say. We work primarily with Coldfusion, HTML & CSS, and Jquery. I work a lot with the senior developer building custom plug-ins for the companies own CMS, but I also dive into the frontend of the pool when I can. I come from a design background so working with Coldfusion on the backend can be daunting. It's a challenge, for sure.

Growth as a Developer

I avoided anything NPM like the plague for the longest time - only because I didn't know what it was and thought it would be so far over my head that I shouldn't even bother. Wow, was I wrong! I finally bit the bullet late last year, October maybe, and it was delicious! My developer world was opened up to so many new tools! Why didn't anybody tell me about this!? I'm kidding, they told me about them but I was too scared to try anything that required "installing a package" or "compiling."

Since then, I've taken a deep dive into React - primarily Gatsby. I've read through the Vue docs and plan to build something with it in the future, but for now, it's React or bust. I even started building my first "app." ColtXP, it's supposed to be a platform for junior developers to pair with senior developers to work on open source issues and gain real-world experience - but for now, it's just a half-finished thing dangling in the interwebs. I put it on pause to rebuild this (my portfolio site) and will resume developing it here soon.

A year ago? I was struggling to make CSS do what I wanted it to and thought I would never get any higher up the mountain that is web development. Now? I'm not even sure last year me would believe where he ends up. I'm glad he didn't quit though!

Becoming a Dad

On September 6th, 2018 at 11:46 P.M. we welcomed Evelyn Rose into the world. I always wanted to be a parent but I was never sure if I could handle it. Thankfully, I have an amazing wife and she's taught me a lot about how to care for a baby. I mean, before this I had never been around newborns on this level. It's an experience. It's a challenge. It's the single greatest thing that has happened to me. I hope everyone gets to experience a love and bond of this level at some point in their life. It's too great of a thing to not experience.

Where from here?

Onward! Maybe the podcast will return? I'm sure it will. They continue to give me more responsibility at work and with that comes more opportunities to learn. I still have to lean heavily on the senior dev for things but my goal is to resolve that by the end of the year (to an extent, dude is a mastermind with so much knowledge - I can't leave that untapped). ColtXP will continue to get developed. I have a Trello board full of updates, features, and all sorts of fun stuff.

Outside of that, the future is open and for the taking. I plan to explore GraphQL more and I want to dive into Apollo later in ColtXP's development. Maybe Sass? We'll see.

The future is what you make it. I'm going to make it one day at a time.

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