My First Client…Hopefully!

I’ve been studying lots recently – benefit of having a month-long detox and not going out drinking!

I’m slowly getting towards the point of having a portfolio, so I can start applying for my first junior web developer job – but it seems I may have inadvertently ended up with my first client too.

A colleague of mine asked me what I thought of her partner’s website for his small business.

I won’t name and shame but quite frankly, the design reminded me of a Ryanair plane and the website itself was customer-unfriendly and not at all appealing.

I gave a list of constructive criticisms, just to be helpful.  I wasn’t trying to get any business.

A week later, he has asked me to rebuild his website.

It’s only a small job – financially not worth it for anyone but a junior, but having an actual client will help me vastly in my development by having to think about what the client wants, as opposed to doing whatever takes my fancy.

There are more questions than answers right now as to how to proceed, but my first step is to outline my proposal to him, then if he agrees, do the basic framework – check he likes the design when it is on-screen, then complete it.

I’m rather excited, it seems that slowly the pieces are coming together, and all this time spent studying, practicing, coding – all these weekends staying in, all the sacrifices I’ve made, may finally be about to start bearing fruit.

Who knows – the website itself may garner further leads.  Though I’m not counting any chickens until I have a finished website and and running for him.

I will indeed be a web developer.

My First Ever Meet-Up

I read plenty of advice along my journey to becoming a web developer. Some of it stating the obvious. Plenty of it repeating what I’ve already read. Some of it surprising – some of it conflicting. In fact, I read far too much advice.

Probably the best bit of advice I read was code more, study less. But that’s the topic for another blog.

One suggestion that I’ve seen repeatedly advised is to join a meet-up ground with other web developers.

There is nothing in my town, Bracknell. Well, it isn’t my town but I happen to live here temporarily. Actually there is one meet-up group called Bracknell Web Development Meetup, but when you click on it, it then asks you to create it. So a phantom group that doesn’t really exist.

I’ve also searched the nearest local town, Reading, for meet-ups for front-end developers – there are some developer groups but none seem appropriate to the languages/frameworks I am learning – mostly for very developed developers.

I was invited last night to a PHP meet-up in Reading. I’ve never touched PHP, other than nervously amending something in footer.php on a WordPress-based blog that I run. I know nothing about servers. I know nothing about back-end development whatsoever.

So I went. A strange choice, perhaps, but a good friend was giving a presentation on some websites that he runs, including TheAudioDB, which is a very successful site, plus they offered free pizza and beer. Albeit I’m on detox.

And the second presentation was on Drupal 8 – and I’ve used Drupal 7.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of it went over my head. I do have a keen interest in what all of my friends do in their spare time, so the generalities of running successful open-source websites that my friend runs was interesting and impressive.

The technical side was wooooooooooooooooooo la la la la la la la la let’s play with my hair for a while.

It was a good presentation with enough for the technical-minded and the newbies alike – which could not so much be said about the presentation on Drupal, which used so many terms I had not heard of, and was for an audience…well it was for the majority of the audience.  It was aimed squarely at back-end developers.  I should not be surprised.

I wanted to ask a question at the end about the poor theme choice available for Drupal 7, and whether this improved in Drupal 8, but I decided that I might look a bit out of place asking a front-end question, so I left it.

I did get chatting to someone on the way out who had also used Drupal, albeit briefly, and concurred with my thoughts on the basic Drupal themes.

Not a wasted evening but clearly, going to a PHP meet-up when I’m learning HTML, CSS & JavaScript is not the way forward.

But I will go to one again. I’ve found some in London – not ideal given the travelling and cost involved but it’s an investment into my future.

Those I’m now registered with include London Web, London Digital Design And Technology User Group, ShoreditchJS, Pencil Web Development Training, Find A Tech Job In London (could be very useful in the future!) and, curiously, Developers Who DJ. Yes, I am also a DJ.

Maybe I’ll try them all out and have the subject of my next blog post.

I’ve also found a meet-up for Spanish-speaking lesbians.  Not sure if I’ll get approved despite the long hair.