December 15, 2016

I wanted to start this blog so I could talk about new things that I'm learning and the challenges that come with them. Lately I've been trying to add some new skills to my resume. I've been freelancing, but I really want to get involved with bigger projects and back into a collaborative studio environment. I know that design can't happen in a vacuum, but that's where I've been.

When I was in school I had just missed a shift in curriculum that added two levels of web design to the Communication Design program. I was frustrated that I had sort of missed the opportunity to learn the basics of HTML and CSS and that frustration ultimately lead me to be a bit resistant to web design.

To be honest, the idea of learning HTML and CSS really intimidated me. Whenever I had seen it in the past or tried reading things here and there, it gave me the same feeling that algebra gave me in high school. I couldn't visualize how it worked, and honestly, I just hadn't objectively tried.

I told a friend of mine that I was going to start using Code Academy to teach myself some basics. He told me to go for it, but to try pluralsight as well, finding Code Academy too "hand-holdy" himself (he was right). I wound up taking a few classes by Susan Simkins, following along with her provided files using Brackets, pausing to scratch down notes and taking some time to play around with what I was being shown.

Once I had taken an introduction to HTML course I followed it up with courses titled "Your First Day with HTML" and "Your First Day with CSS." It all started clicking and I was somehow wildly relieved. I was able to understand the basic architecture and syntax of HTML5 well enough to be comfortable writing it on my own. Anything that I couldn't remember or that I would write incorrectly was a simple google search now that I knew how to ask the right questions. At this point I went over to Code Academy and went through a few modules before I realized exactly what my friend was getting at with the "hand-holdy-ness." I was using it to enhance or bolster the basics I had already learned, and it was definitely great to go over the same material worded differently, but there quickly came a point where I wasn't "learning" as much as I was following instructions that could simply be copy and pasted into the next window.

I was enjoying playing with CSS as well, testing specificity, organizing my HTML into divs within divs (once I understood how a div was both nothing and the most important thing at the same time, like the Buddha or a 13-year-old nihilist) and calling them out. I really enjoyed thinking about organizational systems and being thoughtful as to how to create a foundation that can be easily built upon later if necessary.

Obviously I couldn't just put "HTML/CSS" on my resume and start firing it off to all of the junior-level jobs that require that knowledge. Also, having a marginally edited squarespace template for a portfolio site wasn't going to prove anything, so I decided that I had to code my own website from the ground up.

More on that once my site goes live.

best o/

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