Before I tell my story, let me list my specialties:
- website design & development
- web application design & development
- user interface design & prototyping
- web & interactive production processes
And now for my favorite platforms, languages, libraries, etc.:
- HTML5, Jade, CSS3, Sass/Scss & Compass
- PHP & CodeIgniter
- ASP.NET MVC 2
- Mac OS X & iOS
- Want more? Here you go!
When I first logged onto the internet:
I first entered cyberspace sophomore year of high school. My parents owned a computer for quite some time before that (actually had the first IBM PC), but the internet was a whole new world for me then. It was an AT&T dial-up account that launched me to the net. I remember thinking, “Okay I’m here. I see your fancy webpage. Now where do I go?”
When I decided to become a web/graphic designer/developer:
During the summer of 1999 I participated in an internship program with a local Louisville start-up website design company. The semester before that is when I really became proficient at HTML. Once the internship was over the company offered me a job upon graduation. I accepted and began my new position in May of 2000. The development side came pretty natural. I have a knack for picking up new things (like programming languages) quickly. It took me about a year to convince the owners to let me get a crack at design. Once I completed my first design I knew I was in trouble – I liked both design and development equally. In a business world that wants efficient moving pieces that contribute unique portions to the company as a whole, I was going against the grain by embracing two skill sets.
You heard me right… I taught myself HTML and other programming languages:
I taught myself HTML while in college using the time-tested method of trial and error. I created an HTML document, began editing the code, saved the file and took a look at how my code changes affected the look of the page. HTML as a language itself is actually pretty simple: b = bold, p = paragraph, img = image, etc. Once I figured out how those elements interacted with each other I was off and running.
The programming languages (PHP, ASP, ASP.NET and some ColdFusion) were not quite as bad. There are a tremendous amount of resources online for almost every popular development language. I also was fortunate enough to work next to a few guys that were well schooled in languages like C and C++. If you are dropped off in a foreign country, eventually you will overcome the language barrier and learn the fundamental words you need to communicate. That’s exactly how it started with programming languages for me – trial by fire so to speak.
Okay, so what about the design side? Don’t I have to be from some prestigious art school to do this stuff?
Formal schooling always helps, but on the job training can be just as beneficial (if not more). There are two aspects of web design in my mind: creative thinking and the application of that thinking. Creative thinking can be something people just have, but it can also be harnessed and/or strengthened by reading, studying and interacting with creative people. The application of that thinking is your ability to get that web design out of your head and onto the computer screen via tools like PhotoShop and Illustrator. I have been fortunate enough to work with brilliant people who were very creative and know dozens of design software inside and out.
Speaking of brilliant people, what’s the Googleplex like?
In short, it is amazing! I continue to have a great deal of respect for the people, products and way of doing business that is Google. I had an opportunity to interview, tour the Googleplex, eat lunch and meet some amazing people in the Webmaster group in October 2006. They truly are very talented and capable. I will always treasure the short time I had to live the Google dream and am honored to have received an offer from such an amazing company.
Speaking of amazing companies, I’ve worked for some the best in the Louisville area. Check out my resume for more details. My tenure at each employer left me with a wealth of experience and confidence to continue growing my capabilities within my career.
So what now? Where do I want to go from here?
The great thing about technology and the web specifically is that you must embrace change. The moment a new design is posted to a website it starts getting old. Just when you master a programming language or a database technology, new ones emerge. I want to provide my employer, my clients and myself with the best websites I possibly can. I want to be the jack-of-all-trades that can show the techie developers how to apply design and the artsy designers how to code. I want to be the guy who brings it all together. I want to stand at the crossroads of intuitive user interface design and efficient, effective application development. Mostly, I want to stay hungry and stay foolish.