Cassie Evans — Creative Developer

Cassie is a creative developer at Net Natives, as well as being one of the core organisers of codebar Brighton. In her spare time she likes making animations with code and doing talks on CSS.

You can find Cassie on the internet at:

@cassiecodes | Website

What did you want to be growing up?

It’s a far cry from what I do now, but I wanted to be a marine biologist.

When I was old enough to realize that marine biologists don’t just frolic about cuddling dolphins, I changed my mind.

When did your interest in tech start?

I guess initially it was back in the Myspace days. In retrospect, it was an amazing outlet for creativity and without realizing I was coding, I was flirting with a skill that I’d end up building my career on.

I didn’t stop at my own page either, I used to customize my friends pages in return for donuts from the tuck shop!

How did you make the transition to being a developer?

I studied photography and after working in the modelling world doing photo retouching I realized that I wasn’t being challenged and wanted to funnel my creativity into something more positive.

I took a short course on web design with the intention of focusing my Photoshop skills and getting a job as a designer but as soon as I started delving into coding I was hooked.

Being able to sit down at a laptop, open a text editor and make something from nothing still feels like magic.

After the course ended my learning plateaued for a bit and I was getting pretty lonely studying at home. That was when I found codebar Brighton. Right from the start everyone was so supportive. Having a community of people to bounce ideas and questions off really kept me going, especially on the days when my code was broken, and I doubted whether I was headed in the right direction.

What was your first development job?

My first development job was on the creative team at Net Natives, a digital marketing agency for the education and local government sectors. Being a creative developer is a lot of fun. I get to play around with web animation a lot, which I love, and I like working on ad campaigns that make a difference.

What is your favourite thing about being a developer?

Secretly, my favourite thing is having multiple screens covered in code and feeling like a badass hacker. I even have Doc Martens covered in javascript.

But more seriously, I love the fact that as a developer you’re constantly learning. Every day brings different problems to solve. There’s always a sense of accomplishment waiting around the corner. It’s also taught me to embrace failure. I used to really beat myself up if I didn’t succeed on the first try. Now I’m starting to see these moments as necessary steps towards fully understanding something.

I love the fact that as a developer you’re constantly learning. Every day brings different problems to solve.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?

It would have to be for Goldsmiths Uni. We made a glitchy video animation as part of a campaign and the client wanted to use it on all their ads and social posts. However, the catch was that some of the ads didn’t support video, just HTML and CSS. The general consensus was to tell them we couldn’t do it, but I sat down, stubbornly and recreated it with clip-path and blend modes. It was such fun pushing the limits of what I thought I was capable of.

How did you get involved with codebar?

I came to codebar for a year as a student after recommendations from developer friends up in London. When the previous organisers started leaving I stepped up and now organize codebar Brighton with two other former codebar students, Alice and Zara.

Why do you keep coming back to codebar?

I love hanging out with the wonderful community we’ve built up in Brighton.

I love watching new students transition from confusion to excitement as they work through the tutorials and figure things out.

I love seeing regulars getting first jobs, new jobs or making something they’re proud of. Mostly I just love having somewhere I can get help, advice and support when I need it.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to specialize in web animation. I love creating fun experiences people can interact with and it’s not just for fun. A well thought out animation can reduce cognitive load, guide the user around an interface and provide continuity or character to an experience.

I’d also like to use my skills more altruistically. Create, or work on a project that does some good in the world.

What advice would you give to aspiring developer?

Make stuff! Make lots of stuff, break stuff too. You learn best from your mistakes, so don’t be afraid to make them. Also, don’t worry if you feel like you can’t do something. I swing between feeling like a genius and feeling like I can’t grasp even the simplest concepts, on a daily basis. Roll with it. It’ll all turn out ok.