I wish to share how I fell in love with UI Development.

I believe can become front-end . All it takes is a shift of perception and lots of patience.

Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

As I had shared before, I was a designer in a digital agency. I started front-end development because I wanted to be more aware of the possibilities and limitations of web design. Many times, I had heard the developers say “that’s not possible” or accept a job and not deliver according to the design specifications. And I was afraid to show clients designs that could not be converted into code. That had caused problems in the past for me. Once clients agree on a design, they would not want to see anything different in the final product. A client scrutinises the finished product like detectives, keenly intent on finding flaws.

Clients are very particular about UI designs. Working with large multi-national corporations taught me a lot about design philosophy, principles, and guidelines. Since designers are already aware of design principles, they can effectively produce better user interfaces for the browser via code. A coder may not see the difference in alignment of body copy and heading or padding between a div.

One of my designs where I had to explain design principles to a UI developer

Learning front-end development is not so hard as it seems. Technology is fast evolving and there are going to be plenty of opportunities out there. All we need is patience. Do not hurry with your education, there are a lot of courses out there. I tried CodeAcademy, Coursera, SkillShare, edX, and freeCodeCamp. Out of these, I found freeCodeCamp’s flow of learning best suited for me. Sometimes, when I am unable to understand something and reading just doesn’t help, I go to freeCodeCamp’s YouTube channel. There are plenty of good tutors out there.

I must say, finding time to learn between full-time work and family life is exhausting. But keep trying because the upside is a wide range of possibilities. I used to wake up an hour early and practice till late at night. Spent most of my time studying and practicing on weekends. I needed projects to work. I started with mine own portfolio website, then my brother’s website and I kept improving.

My brother’s website

In a way, I pushed through the mental block that I cannot code. Now, I’m a bit relaxed. Personally, I fell content; I am filled with positivity and optimism for the future. Someday I might become a part of something really special, something that would change the way humanity thinks or lives. Perhaps.

In the meantime, I’ll keep learning.

As I advanced in my understanding of front-end development, I stumbled upon The Coding Train’s YouTube channel and Scrimba.com.

You’ll quickly fall in love with Daniel Shiffman who leads The Coding Train with his passion and enthusiasm. Have fun listening to him and you will learn a lot.

Scrimba is a new and interactive learning format. You can play with the code right in the video player. Pause the video and practice within the video player and check your results. When you are ready to move on, simply hit play button and the video begins from where it was paused. It is quite an exciting tool. You’ll love it.

Thanks to Quincy Larson (freeCodeCamp), Daniel Shiffman (The Coding Train), and Per Harald Borgen (Scrimba), I am now a UI Developer Lead with a small team. And I am loving every moment of it!

Late last year, I had applied to a company that was just starting into digital space. UI Development was new for them but because I had skills as a designer, developer, and writer, I was quickly hired.

Our company started with iPad visual aids for top pharmaceutical companies. Developing visual aids enhanced my skills in responsiveness and CSS animations. I had done a little animation in Adobe After Effects. But animating with code was different. Besides, animating objects within the iPad screen required some imagination and thinking through. I had to separate elements according to the way I wanted them animated. A little online research brought me Animate.css by Daniel Eden. It’s a great resource for simple animations that can speed up your work.

I know how hard it is to shift one’s perception and get comfortable with this mode of designing without a GUI. I’ve been there. My advice is to take it slow, at first. Understand the importance of writing code, get comfortable with it. Use a code writing tool such as Atom.io or Brackets.io. They are free and have a lot features that can speed up your workflow. Gradually, you’ll begin to like it. I became so interested in designing with code, that I started learning JavaScript (I’ll share my experiences in another blog).

During the last one year, I realized that my way of thinking was changing. My ability to grasp new knowledge had quickened and I was beginning to think like a programmer. Naturally, I decided to become a full stack developer. I’m continuing my education at the freeCodeCamp and working full time as a developer as well.

Never stop learning! As I said technology is taking quantum leaps. It may seem hard to keep up. At least we can try. It does not matter how hard it seems in the beginning or how tough it is to start. Unless we push through, we will not know our own potential. It is a whole new way of thinking. Not only do you gain new skills and knowledge, but you also gain a sense of awareness around you, like a great master who is one with the universe. Learning to code can open up new possibilities and through you great ideas can come to life.

I’ll say it again: I believe designers can make good front-end developers. All it takes is a shift of perception and lots of patience.

Thanks for reading, and if you liked what you read or learned something from my experience please share this article.

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