My chat with programmers, before starting to learn programming

illustration from ways of silence, by me

As a digital designer in a small and young tech agency, I work closely with developers in the office. We have fun casual chatting and joking around daily, yet also are interested in serious, work-related communications. I find myself pretty lucky to have a friendly team to work with.

The two very talented developer I interviewed with are Gian, our front-end developer, and Corey, the iOS app developer. Cool enough, both of them also have graphic design experience and interests that overlaps with my professional.

With Gian, we’ve talked long time ago about why he had chosen his career path. He explained that he is enjoying how developing can build real things and solve problems with constructive process. While my interests of coding would possibly lean more towards website development, I asked Gian for his suggestions to a newbie front-end programmer. As a self-taught developer with rich freelance experience, Gian suggested me to start with case-studying site examples with CMS system in. I can find those, for example, in Joomla and Rocket Theme. “From flexible and complex, to limited but simple, there are Drupal, Joomla, and Wordpress to look for great examples and learn from.” He also brought up great platforms, such as Codepen, to play at, and start knowing from the big structure to details built for a case, also edit from there to make what my project is needed.

I asked during our conversation, “So is it usually not like, as for a graphic designer, you open up a blank artboard in photoshop then start creating? Is it more like you search and pick something built by others, and creatively work from there?” Gian agreed partly, but also showed me in Codepen that how I can totally start from scratch to have fun.

This concept I learned is quite aligned with how Corey compared web with mobile development. He explained that in app development, the structure of the work is similar to computer software developing which is more object-oriented, but for front-end it’s more toward taking third-party frameworks to apply and work from.

“What will you as a developer, prefer for me as a designer, to learn in programming that can help us work better together?” I figured my most important question to ask.

Corey pointed out the bridge between design and develop — prototyping. He thought that if designers can convey the core experience in prototypes for programmers to understand, it will save much of each other’s time. “I think as a designer, the more you are able to code the more powerful you become in getting your ideas realized.” said by Corey. Gian also added that it’s helpful for different roles to be involved in each other’s discussions, such as letting developers know the ideas and visual decisions behind those delivered design files as much as possible, so that they can make respective decisions to build up the final product.

I’ve learned varied lessons through my conversations with both of them, as well as having a better vision at how I can direct my efforts in learning to code. I’m excited to move on to the next step.

(This is an assignment for “Programming for Non-Programmers” online course at One Month.)