In this episode, during National Coding Week, Chelsea talks with Arran about why he changed careers from a Graphic Designer to a Website Developer.
National coding week
Podcast National coding week
Hi, everyone, and welcome to a special episode of so what’s up this week is National coding week. And we’re catching up with our web developer, Aaron to find out why he made the move from graphic designer to web development.
So Aaron, what inspired you to get into graphic design?
It would really be my granddad. He was a graphic designer for Shell during sort of the golden age of graphic design. And he sort of grown up, he had loads of sort of classic shell prints around his house, which always had a massive influence on me. I also taught graphic design. So that basically led to me taking graphic design at school, and then college. And during college, I sort of did a module on web design. And really, I just played with the concept from there started off small making basic little HTML sites myself, and it grew from there. And yeah,
I agree. Okay, so um, design was something you were really interested in, then from a young age. What did you do after college?
Yeah, so I went on to graphic design at university. That’s where my interest kind of dwindled a bit. I dropped out studying for sort of a few reasons. But it was basically, lack of practical experience was frustrating. I was covering a lot of stuff that already covered in so my earlier college course. And I felt like I wasn’t really learning anything new.
Yeah. That’s fair enough. I guess it’s frustrating going over and over the same things again, isn’t it? So what was your master plan after leaving education, then
there wasn’t really a master plan, bummed around for a while working at sort of a fast food chain. Let’s just say I wasn’t loving it. The last, but I did meet a really good friend, who sort of asked me to collaborate with him on a website that he was setting up, he did. Sorry, I did the design, he did the build of the site. And site semi successful and we decided something could be sort of maybe grown from this. So we decided that we were going to try and, you know, go out on our own and set up our own business.
That’s pretty cool. And definitely a brave decision as well to go out on your own. So yeah, how was the freelance life for you?
It was pretty tough. We struggled for a while, lots of late nights, barely breaking even. Neither of us for sale guy. So this is where we really struggled. We undervalued our time a lot. And ultimately, it was probably not the not worth the lack of sleep. But we both learned a lot while we’re doing it.
Okay, so what sort of stuff we learned about during your late nights, then?
Well, initially, we just the graphic design stuff. But I did start dabbling with the hard stuff, is it worth the Cody Steel’s. It finally sort of clicked with me when I started to build my own site for basically a little hobby blog. And it grew from that to sort of this massive sort of online campaign for a tabletop game. And the site proved to be unexpectedly popular, we sort of had 1000s of users at one point, over sort of a period of few months, which was the duration of the main campaign. And it kind of blew us away. And that kind of led to the company that ran the Wargaming, the war game to sort of take notice and commissioned us to sort of run a sort of semi unofficial official campaign on their behalf. And we improved the site or remodelled it a bit to handle the increased Play account and make it a lot more polished.
That’s so cool. I bet it was great to work on a project that you also considered a hobby topic, too. So yeah, what else was going on at that time?
Well, at this point, the sort of the freelance work had dried up a bit and decided that maybe I’d picked up enough skills that I pursued a career in web development, apply for a job, an agency, and worked there for six years as a front end developer. And during that, that time, I picked up a load of other skills as well, leaning more towards the back end development and integration to I’ve got quite a bit quite a range of experience and work with WordPress, Magento, OpenCart, and other sort of CMS platforms.
And how did you find joining an agency after you’d self taught your skills, it
was a very, it was a very positive change. We knew we had a lot to learn going into it. But I really sort of gave me the opportunity to improve my skill set and learn from some experienced developers. But most importantly, I didn’t have to deal with the sell side of the business. Turns out a bunch of socially awkward geeks don’t make the best salesman new.
Well, I guess people are good at different things. Like there’s a lot of jargon in the tech world that I certainly don’t understand. Done, one of the things that I’ve always wondered is what’s the difference between front end and back end development?
Okay, so generally speaking, the front end development is what the end user sees on the screens and the back end development is the complex stuff behind the screens that handles the logic, makes your login forms work powers, your admin panel.
That that makes sense now. So what do you enjoy the most about developing websites?
For me, it’s really sort of getting my head into a big chunky project. So I can get my head down on it for, you know, months on end. There’s something satisfying about taking something from study design to the final product. Especially if there’s an aspect I don’t really know how to handle yet. I’m all about trying to learn something new or learning new skills.
And what’s the most challenging aspect of your role?
database stuff, I hate doing it, even if it’s sort of simple query is one of those things that if you do it wrong, you can really talk up a site. If you mess up something, but cover in the wrong place, or you know, target the wrong table, you can really, really screw us over. So always, always take a backup.
Okay, and now for the hardest question of this podcast. Do you ever miss your web design days?
Sometimes, but it’s a different kind of pressure. You have to be variable, very flexible to client input, for better or worse. Definitely don’t miss working with print. Why is it we can have a supercomputer in our pockets but printers are still the most finicky technology sighs that designers are extremely good at what they do. And I’m a little bit out of practice.
Well, thanks very much for your time today. Aaron, I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you about all things web dev and why you choose to come over onto the dark side of web development. So yeah, if anyone’s got any questions, just hit us up at Hello at so marketing.com