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Thread: How to progress as a developer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Sweden
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    Exclamation How to progress as a developer

    Yes, hello again. This will be my second post ever on this forum and it's rather broad!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I've just finished a two-year university focusing on graphic design & web development, starting on my third later this august. Throughout my time here I've gone from wanting only to focus on the graphic design to a complete invert, wanting to focus entirely on the web development - with a graphic designers soul, of course.

    I had no experience of any web development whatsoever. During the education, I started with HTML5, CSS3 and responsive development right from the beginning and developed an interest for the work and workflow. Since the education was split into two categories, I had to settle for only a few front-end courses.

    After this we had an intense Javascript-course that had way too advanced content for a short amount of time, and it didn't really spark any interest from me, since there wasn't any basic introduction to get us started. We jumped right into making a dice-game, a chat-room and some other things. I never really saw what that could do for my front-end development.

    We also went through a painfully unorganised PHP/MySQL course that had us create some form of e-commerce site using only our own PHP-knowledge. But through that course it felt like all we did was copy code and ask others for help in order to even make the deadlines, 95% of us had NO experience before this course.

    As well as this I've learned to manage jQuery somewhat on my own to get scrolling effects, fading effects, addClass, removeClass etc. And for some more advanced effects I know how to implement .js libraries. This year I've also taught myself how to create and manage my own theme from scratch in Wordpress, along with this I've gotten some understanding of PHP looping and how to convert a page and elements to work as custom posts in Wordpress.

    I've gotten fairly confident in terms of HTML5, CSS3 and the whole responsive development is simple to me. I feel that I can get a design from someone and create a somewhat good and functional representation of it and I've done a few projects ordered by clients through different projects in school and I'll list some of them further down. However the feeling I'm having is that I don't know in what way to go to progress as a developer. I want to learn and be able to create amazing web experiences that will make other developers think "wow, this guy is great!". Because that's what I think when I watch some of the top webpages on awwwards, and similar sites.

    The problem is I now have no clue where to look, what to learn and how to learn it...Since I've gotten better @ Wordpress I've started to look for other things to learn and I've come across A LOT of things.

    • Frameworks (Bootstrap, Foundation)
    • Other CMS (ghost, joomla, drupal)
    • LESS/SASS
    • ...and probably a lot more


    But, I still have the feeling that none of this is what would give me a boost knowledge- and performance-wise. I have no problem coding every little detail from scratch, even though modules would probably be more efficient (bootstrap3 etc.). I need something to get me going, something to finally seem significant enough and matter to my career as a developer!

    Does anyone recognise what I'm talking about or is this all crazy-talk? Anyway I'd appreciate any form of guidance and/or knowledge injection. These are some of my webpages I've made in the last months!

    My semi-done Portfolio 2014
    Primate Lounge
    Carefox - this one was better when we handed it over, www.jimrask.se. They appointed an in-house developer to manage it, and well..he didn't do a good job.

    and these are a few examples of sites I want to be able to do if I wanted to.
    http://www.bendavidsandhu.com/
    http://mainequarterly.com/
    http://digitalevolution.com/

    I sincerely apologise for this essay of a post, but hopefully somebody out there recognises this and has advice!

    Sebastian

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    *bump*

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by sebastianpierre View Post
    I've just finished a two-year university focusing on graphic design & web development, starting on my third later this august.
    My condolances. Nothing like spending years being packed full of sand, for a piece of paper that MIGHT get you in the door to start ACTUALLY learning on the job, but is just as likely to end with you flipping burgers.

    Quote Originally Posted by sebastianpierre View Post
    During the education, I started with HTML5, CSS3 and responsive development right from the beginning and developed an interest for the work and workflow.
    Unfortunately the HTML 5 part means you've likely only learned the worst of late 1990's practices

    Now, you could probably guess I have about as much use for most 'educators' and the 'educational system' as I do a case of hemmaroids. Same goes for MOST of HTML 5.

    Quote Originally Posted by sebastianpierre View Post
    After this we had an intense Javascript-course that had way too advanced content for a short amount of time
    JS is real programming, MOST courses on it at best paints broad strokes; there's so much detail AND it moves so quickly, it's hard to cover it properly in a class. Same goes for most real programming languages.

    Quote Originally Posted by sebastianpierre View Post
    and it didn't really spark any interest from me, since there wasn't any basic introduction to get us started. We jumped right into making a dice-game, a chat-room and some other things. I never really saw what that could do for my front-end development.
    Good instincts! There's a reason the 'unwritten rule of JavaScript" exists: "If you can't make a fully functioning page without JavaScript first, you likely have no business adding scripting to it!"

    Quote Originally Posted by sebastianpierre View Post
    We also went through a painfully unorganised PHP/MySQL course that had us create some form of e-commerce site using only our own PHP-knowledge. But through that course it felt like all we did was copy code and ask others for help in order to even make the deadlines
    Wow, sounds like most real-world development these days. MOST people sleazing out PHP these days don't know enough about HTML, CSS or PHP to be doing soon.
    Quote Originally Posted by sebastianpierre View Post
    • Frameworks (Bootstrap, Foundation)
    • Other CMS (ghost, joomla, drupal)
    • LESS/SASS
    • ...and probably a lot more


    But, I still have the feeling that none of this is what would give me a boost knowledge- and performance-wise. I have no problem coding every little detail from scratch, even though modules would probably be more efficient (bootstrap3 etc.).
    Honestly, Frameworks -- and I include jQuery in this, alongside things like LESS/SASS ... well, you're right. NO boost in knowledge, no boost in performance -- so your latter statment about 'modules' being 'more efficient'? No, not so much.

    In fact they typically deliver the exact OPPOSITE of the claims people make about them. In my experience "frameworks" like bootcrap, jquery, etc, make more work, not less, more code, not less, and make it harder to maintain. This is because at best they are a crutch for the people who refuse to learn the underlying languages of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, at WORST they PREVENT YOU from learning the underlying languages making you unqualified to say if they are actually delivering on their claims or not.

    That most of them uncompressed are larger by themselves before you even start adding your own code than I would allow an entire site template's HTML+CSS+SCRIPTS+IMAGES (not counting content) to reach is an excellent example of everything wrong with them... Hell, you use bootstrap and jQuery -- just those two together, and gzipped they're bigger than my uncompressed site template limit! That's just exactly how big a fat bloated mess of nonsense they are.

    Preprocessors like LESS and SASS are equally stupid, as they mostly exist for people too stupid to write CSS properly or understand how to properly leverage selectors. It's an extra wasted step for the people who don't see anything wrong with using 100 to 200k of CSS to do 10k's job because they never learned to use CSS or HTML correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by sebastianpierre View Post
    I need something to get me going, something to finally seem significant enough and matter to my career as a developer!
    Do you have any passions outside development? A personal project is often the best way to develop your skills and have something to show off... no matter how silly it is or unimportant as it might seem.

    Being something you're interested in can also help keep you interested. That's how my EWI website came into being. http://www.ewiusb.com

    Does anyone recognise what I'm talking about or is this all crazy-talk? Anyway I'd appreciate any form of guidance and/or knowledge injection. These are some of my webpages I've made in the last months!

    One big thing you're gonna want to do as a developer if you are serious about it, is kick your inner child in the crotch. I come from an art background as a musician, conventional artists, and having also worked in print both in layout and as a writer. Even though I started writing computer software in the late '70's, the transition to the web proved difficult at the start as my inner artsty fartsy type kept making me try to do things that have no business on a website.

    I see the same thing in your painfully and agonizingly slow loading portfolio page. It reeks of thinking "what it looks like" before you thought about "what it is" or "how can I best convey my data to the user". You've got WAY too much whitespace, content spread out all over the place, accessibility failings, illegible webfonts mated to illegible colour combinations, gibberish use of numbered headings, endless pointless classes and DIV for nothing, a nasty case of "semantic markup, what's that?" -- but worst of all it's broken here in anything other than Firefox.

    I mean, you want to grow as a developer? STOP using 14 megabytes of images on a single page. STOP using 65 separate files to deliver barely over a dozen content images and 3.6k of plaintext. Stop using massive messes like that "normalize" and stop using 30k of CSS in 5 files to do the job of 15k of css in one file.

    ... and remember, more files == slower page load SEPARATE from the size, a lesson that looking at what you've done you weren't taught; alongside "you don't make 14 megabyte websites".

    Even with the gallery on it, I doubt that should be more than half a megabyte in a third the file count.

    So there's more to learn about design, specifically accessibility and functionality, before you should be playing with anything more complex.

    Oh, and never apologize for a 'long' post; that's not even long by my standards. The TLDR crowd needs a hefty case of Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform anyways.

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