Why I Became A Developer (After Studying Design)
25 February 2014

Why I Became A Developer (After Studying Design)

Four years ago I began my journey to become a Graphic Designer. DAAP had just merged the Graphic and Digital design majors into one super-major, titled “Graphics Communication Design”, and I would be a member of the first graduating class to bear that title. I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to become a well-rounded designer; equally exposed to digital and graphic disciplines. However, this was not necessarily the case. I knew from the get-go I wanted to strive to be an expert in web design – especially the coding aspect, but that isn’t what DAAP had in store for me.

Over the next few years, I would (mostly) teach myself how to utilize HTML and CSS, and with the help of my first co-op, jQuery. This was my gateway to development. In the early stages of picking up jQuery, I thought I wanted to be just a front-end developer. jQuery was awesome and I thought it would be the end-all-be-all for me. What else did I need to know to implement awesome websites?

As it turns out, I need to learn a lot more. Which brought me to my first realization:

Logic is logic is logic. Right?

When learning jQuery, I realized it was all about the logic. Once you learn the language, what’s the next step? How the code is structured and the process in which it executes. Growing up I loved math and science, and the fact there was reason and structure behind problem solving. This is what I craved; I needed more structured problem solving in my workflow. Don’t get me wrong – design has it’s principles, but most of it is subjective. This difference made me feel like this was the right direction in which to proceed.

I don’t love just the front end. I need MORE.

I wanted to know what makes a website really tick. I knew there was more than just pretty type and a nice layout. But what? jQuery was the spark that lit my curiosity. It was great. It was easy enough to pick up over a short amount of time, and I felt like I was good at it. But what other languages could I get into? What would I need to know to make a fully-functioning website on my own?

Design vs Development

As a full-stack developer (in training) I would identify myself as a problem solver in both roles. Keeping this trait in mind as I transition is very important. In the beginning, I expected this endeavor to be incredibly difficult. However, since I’ve already gained problem solving skills through design, the transition is going more smoothly than I would have imagined. This being said, I believe more designers could take on this role with great success if they have the passion to drive them.

As I explore development with JavaScript and Ruby on Rails, I’m finding that I have A LOT ahead of me.

Heads up! This article may make reference to the Gaslight team—that's still us! We go by Launch Scout now, this article was just written before we re-introduced ourselves. Find out more here.

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