Everyone's Got to Start Somewhere
I've had a pretty minimal web presence for quite a while, but I've come to the conclusion that it's definitely time to change that. I've been doing website and web application development for quite a while, but I don't have anything really personal to show for it aside from a few snippets of code and some sites where the client couldn't tell "development" from "design" and therefore look like a developer designed them. If there is anything that is going to show that I know what I'm doing and that I'm not all talk, it's going to be showing off that I know what I am doing and that I'm not all talk.
A tip for budding website developers, or even talented ones who just can't seem to break into it professionally, one of the first questions you will get asked in an interview is "What's your website or blog or portfolio?" To which the correct response is not "I don't have one." It took me a very long time to figure that out before I put a project on GitHub and made it available to potential employers to check out and see that I really can code.
To me, though, having a project on GitHub just wasn't enough. That, and the the fact that my main repo was a project that never saw the light of day due to a dispute with a client, pushed me to write a blog that focuses on website development and my journey from mediocre web developer to, hopefully someday, a talented and respected developer.
Web Development Goals
I've been doing html since styling was completely inline and everything just ended up centered on the page or as part of an image map, but what I hadn't been doing for most of that time was improving on skills. Sure I could manage to make a web page in html, but it looked like crap, had no functionality and wasn't worth the bytes it was taking up. I went back to school after a tenure as a paramedic -- a story for another post -- and found out how the world of development had changed around me. I knew that web sites were getting bigger, faster, stronger, different, and and other buzzwords, but what I didn't know was just how much the world had changed around me.
I was behind farther than I like to admit, but then something amazing happened.
I started doing it again and what I transitioned into what I was learning and the more I did of it, the more I loved it. Then came the web applications programming class that taught me the basics of PHP, and I loved it. I bought every book I could find, followed every tutorial I came across, and just absorbed as much as I could.
Fast forward a few years, and here I am, a web developer in downtown Chicago loving where my life has taken me and where I've ended up so far, but I am ambitious and I want more. I don't want to be the junior developer, nor do I want to just do good enough. I really want to be the best. Although Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert, I think it's much less if the drive is high enough and the passion is there.
So since my first
<?php echo "Hello World"; ?>
to the last jQuery function I wrote, I've enjoyed every challenge that I've come up against and look forward to sharing some of my acquired skills with anyone willing to listen.