How I Got Here – Part 2

In How I Got Here – Part 1, I had just created my first web app, and discovered it to be a fun and satisfying project. Before we go on, here is a little bit of my back story…

I prefer to focus on the positive in the writing of this blog, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that I have not been necessarily happy teaching. This was something I think I knew all along, but hadn’t come to terms with until recently. As a child, I had always wanted to be a band director. Being a music educator had become part of my identity. The education world is the only world that I know. The thought of not teaching seemed very unrealistic to me, so I buried this unhappiness.

This led to several job changes in my teaching career (I’ve worked for 5 different school districts in 12 years), with hopes that each transition would leave me in a better place, and I would finally enjoy teaching. A year after my last transition (which was in early 2012), I once again began to realize how unhappy I was, but this time, I began to realize that teaching was just not for me. I also was starting to think of other careers, and knew I wanted to do something in the tech sector. At the time, I wasn’t even really aware of what types of jobs existed… I just knew that I wanted to work with computers and technology.

Now, aside from giving me a new tool to teach with, and the satisfaction of having created something, The Rhythm Randomizer, also pointed me in the right direction of my future career. What I had just done was fun. I wanted to do more. I wanted to make websites and web apps. And I wanted to do this for a living.

The problem was, I had no idea how to go about doing this. I had made one web app, by following tutorials online. I had no other experience. I had neither the time nor the money to go back to school and get a degree in this. I felt very stuck, but I decided that I needed to do something.

So, I posted to my friends on Facebook: Anyone who wants a website designed FOR FREE, contact me. I am looking to get some more practice at designing websites. I got three projects; all family members. I started all three projects, but never really got past creating a basic mockup of the site with some basic HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP/Wordpress stuff. Mainly, more following tutorials, having no real idea what I was doing. Since I never finished the projects, I did not include them in the Projects section of this site, but I am including them below:

Beautifully Tressed Hair screenshot

Beautifully Tressed Hair was my first attempt at a website. This project was where I really started to understand CSS and how HTML and CSS worked together. The project never went anywhere from here, aside from a nice compliment from the client on the design of the site.

Ms. D'Errico's Language Arts Classes screenshotMy next attempt was Ms. D’Errico’s Language Arts Classes website. But this never made it anywhere beyond the basic static HTML/CSS you see above. Still, I learned some things about the box model, and general HTML structure of the page.

Terrific Twosome Mother's of Multiples screenshot

 

Terrific Twosome Mothers of Multiples was my third attempt, and had the most potential. My client in this case had a site already, and was looking for a redesign. This was my first attempt at a WordPress site. I spent most of my time learning the ins and outs of WordPress, and also got some more experience with HTML/CSS. I found that I had to do a lot less googling in order to figure out how to get the pages to look the way I wanted them to. Unfortunately, this project never got beyond this stage.

I purchased a cheap shared hosting plan and my first two domains (rhythmrandomizer.com and derricowebdesign.com) from namecheap, and threw these sites up there.

At the time, I was very excited about these projects, and was thinking this was a great start into a career as a web designer. Unforuntately, these projects didn’t go anywhere, but I learned my foundations by doing these projects. I also learned that “design” might not be my thing (which, I believe, is one of the reasons why my clients didn’t want to continue with the projects), and also started to figure out the difference between a designer and a developer.

 

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