I’ll know it when I see it.

Karen Evans
3 min readDec 1, 2021

When I started as a designer in the agency world, I was immediately perplexed by the relationship (or lack of one) between creative and development. In every role I’ve held, creative and development have been separate departments. They have different managers, different goals and KPIs, and they sit apart from one another. Usually when they do come together it’s to argue over scope and budget. It’s always seemed like a relationship of necessity, built on competition and ego. Creative needs dev and dev needs creative, but neither wants to admit it.

Not wanting to participate in this weird power struggle, I began learning about development in an effort to build better relationships at work. At first, trying to communicate with developers felt like trying to speak a different language, and in a sense, it was. I didn’t know the difference between padding and margin, and they didn’t know what I meant by ‘negative-space’, so how could we be expected to work together? Maybe this was why they kept up apart.

I took small steps at first, asking developers to look over early stage work in progress, playing around with dev tools in the browser to familiarize myself with some of the language, asking for input on different layout options and just generally trying to involve dev in the creative process.

Then there were bigger steps. I started watching tutorials on YouTube and signed up for different online learning platforms where I began learning HTML and CSS in earnest. I started really getting into coding, not because it was necessary for my job or my work relationships, but because the more I learned the more I wanted to learn.

Eventually I got to a point where I felt I had reached the edge of what I felt comfortable and capable of teaching myself. I decided to take an intro to web dev course through Juno College to see if this was something I wanted to pursue. The original plan was just to get through the part-time course and see what happened.

Taking the web dev course really solidified to me that this is the direction I should be moving in. I loved the curriculum, the challenge of the projects and the community. Fast forward 4 months and I’ve taken two other part-time courses with Juno and wrapped my first week of a nine-week immersive web development bootcamp.

When I started exploring development it was to make myself a better teammate. I don’t think I was looking for a way out of design, but I definitely felt incomplete. Becoming a web developer now seems to me like the most natural next step towards what I’ve always been interested in: solving problems and making things. I’m excited to put my experience and skills as a designer to use and to learn from the challenges that lay ahead on this path I’m on.

Way too often have I been introduced in meetings as the “one who makes things pretty.” I want to build. I want to create better experiences for people on the web. And if they look pretty too, I’ll consider it a bonus.

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