From Web Developer to Graphics Developer in 1 month

From Web Developer to Graphics Developer in 1 month

. 4 min read

So I've been a web developer for about 8 years now. It's been a fun ride so far. I won't lie, it hasn't been an easy journey. I honestly got into this developer thing sort of by chance. Actually, as a kid in high school, I had tried teaching myself how to code. I remember spending a lot of time in math class reading the manual to the TI-83 Graphing calculator so that I could store formulas in it. I wasn't even interested in doing that until our Algebra teacher told us we were forbidden from doing so. My teenage logic at the time was, if they don't want us to do it, it must be cool. So I popped out the manual and learned how. Once I learned how to do that, I quickly became obsessed with creating my first game, as one does. I worked on that game (A really simplified version of the game Jetpack, where you'd be a little man represented by a pi symbol, shooting minus signs at hashtag enemies). I did make some progress with it, but I wasn't ever happy with having to use mathematical symbols to represent my characters. After a bit of quick research, I learned that that was just a limitation of TI-Basic (the language I was using), and that I'd need to learn something called Assembly to get access to the lower level hardware of the calculator and make 'real' graphics. However, high school got pretty busy and with everything I had going on, learning Assembly just kinda fell by the wayside. I mean, I tried to learn it, but its basically learning machine code, which looking back on it, I didn't have the time or patience to do lol. So after the high school saga, I hadn't touched code for a long time until around 2012, after I had been out of college for a while and found myself struggling to put my Graphic Design degree to use.

I orignally tried feelancing as a Graphic Designer, since that's what I had my degree in, and thought I wanted to pursue a career in. To be honest, I didn't consider pay all that much because I just always assumed that Graphic Designers made 'good money' and that I'd be doing what I loved, so money wouldn't matter all that much anyway, right? LOL. Well, let's just say things didn't work out like that and I found freelancing as a graphic designer to be extremely frustrating. For one, I basically graduated college and started job hunting amid one of the worst recessions in recent history, so finding a stable gig was hard enough. Aside from that, due to some of the more recent advancements in technology, I felt like clients and potential clients developed a cognitive dissonance between the amount of time and energy required to make good graphic design, and therefore just didn't value it like they should. This led to me spending many long hours working on projects that didn't yield much income after all was said and done. In addition to the challenges I faced doing graphic design, I would get a lot of requests from potential clients asking for website 'designs'. Although they said they wanted me to design websites, which according to industry standards essentially means to design the visual aspect, not create functionality, what people wanted were fully functioning websites. So I did what any self-respecting digital designer would do. I hit up Adobe and dove right into Dreamweaver. I quickly realized how much easier and more efficient it was for me to edit to code that DW was 'writing' directly, instead of using any WYSIWYG editor. So there my journey began, and 8 years later, I'm questioning why. Well, I won't be obtuse, the obvious reason is money. When I started out, I was in a mountain of debt (student loans, credit card, car payment, etc.) and didn't see any feasible way out aside from becoming a famous artist one day (which is still on my bucket list), or finding a job that would pay a ton of money. My first 'professional' web developer contract paid me $20 per hour. At the time, that was the most money I had ever made. It was life-changing to someone like me who had only been qualified to work retail and make minimum wage up until that point. On the next job after that, I was able to lock in a salary of around $45k per year plus benefits. On my next job, I was making $80k per year, then $90k... fast forward to now and I'm making $120k+. Could I go higher? Do I even want to? What's the 'limit' on how much is enough to do something you don't enjoy anymore? Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy coding very much, but at times, I feel kinda bored with Web Development as a whole and wonder if these jobs will still have the same relevance as they've had for the past 10 years. Maybe. After spending the last 5 years honing my Node.js, Vue, and React skills, I'm being reminded that there's so much more that code can do than just be used to create forms and api endpoints. So it's time to begin a new Journey.

I'll be documenting my re-tooling from a full stack web developer to a (Graphics Developer?) on this blog. I've decided C++ with [OpenGL]( is the direction I'm gonna go in because I'd really like to get into the fields of Spatial Computing, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality... and who knows, maybe a bit of game development too. I know it's gonna be a bumpy ride coming from so many years dealing with the quirks and features of Javascript, but I'm ready to take on something new.

So yeah! Check back soon to see my rantings about the differences between Web Dev life and Graphics Coder??? life (I'm trying so heard not so say Game dev lol). Anyway, welcome to my journey!