This is my abridged story for anyone interested.
It’s also a summary of my work history and some observations I’ve made along the way.
I once played in bands… Bands need websites… I needed to learn how to make those websites. I’ll be honest, when I first started reading about HTML and CSS, it seemed a bit daunting. I didn’t necessarily think I would take to it. One afternoon, a friend of mine showed me the basics and that was pretty much all it took. I became obsessed. I found myself sitting at my computer with every free minute I had, tinkering away and slowly building my abilities. Interactive design- that was the hook. Making things that look pretty and actually do stuff is pretty fun, amiright?
Why am I writing this?
I, like many others, have found design and development a hobby that I think could turn into a viable career. I’ve spent the last ten or so years in the food industry, working my way from prep cook to chef. I love food. I love creating it. I love the confidence I have in my cooking abilities and the depth of knowledge I’ve attained over many years of learning how to handle and prepare it. Believe me, I know the things I’m not good at. But I know that I’m good with food, and I know why. It has little to do with natural ability and almost everything to do with passion and time. I became good at the craft because I loved it. Because I spent huge portions of my free time thinking about and practicing food preparation. I did this outside of work. I spent long hours teaching myself to sharpen knives the right way, so that I could maintain my tools. I listened to podcasts about food, I read about food, I obsessed over food. I eventually could identify why certain methods worked, regardless of the ingredients they were being applied to. Or why other methods worked, based strictly on their application. This is one of the keys to being a good chef. Once you understand the why and how behind different techniques, you can take a grouping of ingredients and manipulate them how you see fit, within the bounds of what you know can be done. This makes cooking a lot more fun. Of course there’s always a different way, something new to learn. We only have so much time and a finite capacity for any given subject. But I know that if you want to succeed as a chef, you must always be reaching for what’s out of reach. If you’re not learning constantly, you are not growing.
Obviously this is true for any practice, professional or leisure. If you want to be good, you need to put in the time and effort. How does this apply to web development? If you come from the tech industry, you already know. There are some prevailing qualities that successful developers embody. I hear it echoed over and over from blog to blog.
Luckily, these are things that come packaged into a person’s love for a craft. The need to improve upon our abilities, to always search for the better or faster or easier path, to learn from others, and be excited to do so. That’s passion. It’s what drives anyone to become really great at whatever it is they do. I have that love for web design and development.
My bottom line?
Making a living as a chef can be fun and rewarding in a lot of ways. It can also be very difficult, physically draining, and comes with what most people would consider an insane time commitment. For me, the drawbacks of the lifestyle are not a sustainable career option.
There is only one creative medium that has grabbed me in the same way as cooking- web development. With that passion comes a drive to learn to do it the right way. A need to grow and an opportunity to make a living doing something that I love. It’s that simple.
Ok, so that’s out of the way. Looks like I better start drafting some posts that actually show what I know about coding.