24 May 2011 bse   » (Apprentice)

Something Completely Different

On Tuesday, I’ll be moving on from a life of graphic & web design at Creative Commons into a full-time software engineering position with Eventbrite. One passion for another, sort of.

Code and design both have well defined processes, and usually require creative problem solving. Most of the time they’re logical and structured, and often spiral out into hard to manage blobs.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had an eye for design, with strengths in layout, structure, grid arrangement, and balance. But with visual design, I don’t have quite the same enjoyment of the process, the journey to the end result, as I do when I work through a software implementation problem. Solutions in code are gratifying, but not as much as when you discover and learn new things while working toward those solutions.

At the heart of it, both of these interests stem from my desire to understand how things work and fit together. I often work on projects that aid in learning frameworks, tools, and abstract concepts. For instance, I started Gedit to learn the GTK+ framework, and fill a gap in a very immature platform; Mercury was a way to improve my knowledge of Cocoa and the iOS frameworks (and scratch an itch); my portfolio web app, Portishead, got me up to speed on Rails 3.0 and new Javascript techniques.

This inquisitiveness has also led me to tinkering with photography, video production, 3D modeling, and a mechanical understanding of cars & motorcycles. But that’s for another time.

The New Thing

For the past five years at CC, I’ve balanced coding (HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, etc) with more Creative Suite related design, coming up with print and online concepts, and often implementing them. I’ve done my best to design and build great user experiences, coming up with those concepts just isn’t really where my passion lies.

By letting go of that aspect, I’ll be able to focus on where I really excel, working with a larger team to bring visual ideas to life, creating great user experiences through code wrangling, and following my engineering passions to a greater degree.

At least, that’s the plan.

It was never my goal 10 years ago, while starting at art school, to end up in a programming role. Design was my long-term interest and passion at the time, but my engineering skills were indeed a definite influence in my hiring at Creative Commons. It only recently became clear what I’d really prefer to be doing with my time, and I definitely don’t feel like I wasted the past decade. The knowledge I’ve gained is invaluable and likely to influence everything I do in the future. If I didn’t follow my passions and lofty goals now, I would certainly be doing a disservice to everyone who relied on me.

With almost 20 years of hacking and tinkering on code, I’m fairly certain this is an excellent idea. Maybe I’ll finally have the chance to fill in the engineering knowledge I lack. After all these years of self-taught programming experience, there are holes.

(Section title borrowed from Nathan Yergler, who I'll be joining at Eventbrite after our respective stints at CC)

Syndicated 2011-05-23 02:34:26 from Soylent.us

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