Accidentally Learning To Be A Web Developer

Over the course of the past six months or so, I have inadvertently become a sort-of Web developer. To be clear, this includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Learning HTML, CSS, JavaScript & jQuery (and presently starting on some associated frameworks, e.g., Underscore.js, Backbone.js)
  2. Studying typography
  3. Studying empirical data/research related to site and page development (e.g., eye tracking heat map data) to optimize UX/UI
  4. Studying and trying to hone good design principles

Why have I done such a thing? Well, back a little while ago I wrote about a business I’ve been creating with another neuropsychologist, which required having a web site. As most businesses do. Or should. We started off with getting our domain registered and firing up a site using WordPress (the WordPress famous five-minute install). I wasn’t satisfied, though, as I am a control freak and felt like I wasn’t getting enough control and options with the WordPress framework. Any plugins we used were created by someone else, and I found that debugging or trying to modify the code to be too cumbersome, if not pragmatically impossible. So, I set out discovering other frameworks. Those of you who actually are bona fide Web developers can probably guess that I found myself in quite a rabbit hole. What followed next was many a late night of staring at line after line of code. But – I have complete control. I also had a good time learning about development. Learning new things is always something that I have enjoyed, and I suddenly found myself with almost too much to handle.

I came across this article recently, which outlines some of the benefits of being a “Jack of All Trades” Web developer. It really rang a bell with me. Not in the Barnum Effect kind of way, though, but more along the lines of “this person is a lot like me” kind of way. Reading the article was both enjoyable and validating. Like I said, I enjoy learning new things. It gives me a greater understanding of a process, imbues a sense of mastery over a thing or environment, and almost always leads to a sense of accomplishment. Plus, it’s one more notch in the skill-set belt. There’s nothing wrong, after all, with being Human Capital.

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