Becoming a developer

I recently landed a job as Head of IT at Framer. Since 2007 I desire a career in app development. I feel like 2019 could finally be the year to kick things off.

Dion Tavenier
Jan 28 · 5 min read

Before I started working at Framer I had a job as IT Support Manager at a travel agency for almost 4 years. This was after working at a small company offering remote support on macOS and iOS.

It all started back in 2004 with the introduction of the iPod mini. I remember being amazed by the fact that you could fit a 1,000 songs in your pocket. I just had to get one. Even if it meant buying a pink model as they sold as hot cakes. This actually happened. Despite the color, everyone at school and work was impressed. Within the same year I bought my first Mac, the iBook G4. This is where things really took off and I have lost count on how many Apple products (and lots of other tech) I have purchased since.

Three years later I got my first real job as salesperson in the Apple retail. In the 5 years that followed I even worked for Apple Inc. Whoa!


On January 9 2007, I witnessed my biggest tech revolution thus far; the iPhone. Up till this day I still get goosebumps watching Steve Jobs introduce the first iPhone. Carrying a BlackBerry at the time, it felt like Apple showed us a glimpse of the future. A future that became reality less than 6 months later.

Since the first iPhone only worked on AT&T in the U.S., I had to buy one of the Dutch grey market. Interestingly, there was only a jailbreak at the time of purchase, so I was only able to use it as an “iPod touch”. Luckily it was only a matter of days before someone published an unlock. Now I was able to use my own carrier. The jailbreak forced me to reboot my phone a couple of times during the day, but the overall experience was truly magical.

A future that became reality less than a half year later.

It took Apple (I believe Steve Jobs wasn’t convinced at first) more than a year to open up the device to developers through the App Store. This is also where my interest in mobile apps started. With basically zero programming experience I already knew this was going to be a serious challenge.

12 years

I dropped out after high school and worked full time since age 18. I dropped out for numerous reasons, with the biggest reason being insecure. I have a tendency to overthink and am a perfectionist. This however hasn’t limited me in my professional career. I worked hard to get to where I am now. Even though I achieved some of my goals, looking back I don’t feel as proud as I probably should. For me the past 12 years felt like a safe bet.

Where my insecurity still affects me the most is perseverance. Taking the step to start things outside my comfort zone and finishing it. Since Apple introduced the iPhone back in 2007, I feel like I want to be part of the revolution. There hasn’t been a single year without “learning code” as a New Year’s resolution. Just as there hasn’t been a day that I don’t think about the next big thing. I believe we are still only at the start of the mobile revolution. Whether it’s mobile payments, health, augmented reality, smart homes or AI. Our lives will look totally different 5 or 10 years from now, with companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft leading the way.

Numerous times did I take on self-taught programming lessons as I had to combine this with a 40-hour work week. Variating from following free Stanford sessions on iTunes up to spending as much as $1000 on a course through an acknowledged Dutch educational institution. I never got past a couple of chapters because insecurity got the best of me. Meanwhile I already bought the domain names for app ideas.


While recurrent ‘failure’ maybe sounds depressing for some, I do have some theories on why I have not given up on my ambition.

Personal challenge

Years after dropping out of school I felt regret. Regret that things like my insecurity and what other people thought of me forced me to give up on my future at the time. I settled with jobs that did not challenge me or fit my ambitions.

However, a lot of people who I followed or met throughout the years are self-taught programmers or designers who dropped out of school. For me this opened my eyes that with dedication you can still get there, with or without a degree.


Besides the personal challenge I want to be able to decide where I want to work. This can either be at a company or as a freelancer, so I can choose to pick up my stuff and move to the other side of the ocean. With a (future) growing demand for engineers I see a window of opportunity.


I don’t want to become the next billionaire. I want to build solutions that compliment peoples lives rather than constrain. When looking around me on a random commute or while talking with various people I see a lot of room for improvement.

I want to build solutions that compliment peoples lives rather than constrain.


Digital design, photography, videography, I love being creative in my spare time. I rarely publish created content since I have become my own biggest critic. With the ability to design and build apps from start to finish I hope to eliminate that insecurity.

Why 2019?

By publishing this post I hope to add some extra personal pressure. It’s not every day that I open up like this. Only few people know that I have been struggling with this for years.

The travel agency that I worked at with ±300 other employees went bankrupt back in November. Since I have been able to think about my future. Given the momentum I felt like now was the time to choose a path that leads to my long desired goal.

Coincidentally Framer reached out to me at the time this all happened. Framer allows creatives to build interactive and responsive prototypes with Framer X. Since this is the industry I want to pursue, what better way to be able to combine this with my daily job? Being surrounded with talented designers and engineers will most likely boost my moral.

Since its first release back in 2014, Swift has become a mature native programming language. It looks more approachable than what Objective-C seemed to me. Apple also provides some great (free) resources on Swift.

Our recent trips to Canada and the U.S. also (re)inspired me to dream bigger.

Swift resources

Thank you for reading! If you recognize yourself I would love to hear your story, or how you enrolled into programming.

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