Learning to make websites

It’s been a couple of months since graduation.

By graduation I mean I walked out of my last exam around mid-December and it said online I passed all my classes.

And just like that I was finally done with school.

Not even a ceremony.

So that’s great. Except the job search could be going better.

Basically, I didn’t have a job.

On the flip side, I was getting pretty good at various video games.

One night during a family dinner, I heard my aunt complain about the agency she had hired to make her website. She’s a realtor and she wanted to start advertising her properties and services online.

I offered to redo the website and she agreed to hire me. Turns out a unique combination of “free time” and “listen auntie I could really use the work” makes for a strong and compelling argument.

This was amazing, except I didn’t know how to make websites.

At least not unless you count the following:

  • A few poor design decisions on myspace
  • A few “Saved as HTML” documents on Word 97
  • A website that listed movies me and my friends had downloaded so we didn’t download the same movie twice. The kid, he’s brilliant.

I was getting chased down by Google recruiters days and nights.

Had to change my number twice.


But I did have friend who worked at a local web agency.

I cornered him at a party one day and asked him the websites equivalent of “how are babies made” in between two sips of beer.

“So uh… How do you make a website?”

He explained how the mockups are made in Photoshop by a designer and then sliced up and put together in HTML and CSS. A developer then comes in and adds the functionality.

That was a pretty good starting point.

I started reading countless books and online tutorials on web development, redefining “drab” in the process. I had some programming experience making desktop applications, but the web was new to me.

It took a while but eventually I delivered a new website for my aunt’s real estate business. And a few weeks later one of her colleague asked me to build him one too. And then a third.

Maybe this could be the start of something.

Spoiler: I stopped applying for jobs around that time.