Digital Child – Musings of a Junior Website Developer

I grew up during a very interesting time. I was born into a technological revolution the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the industrial era. Growing up, it seemed a foregone conclusion that I, like the rest of my generation, would be molded by this abundant new technology. We each grew up a digital child, shaping tech as much as tech shaped us. This digital world is a new frontier to explore, one that’s opened natural career paths that are very well suited to anyone who is technically-minded, creative, or both.

Luckily for me, I’m a touch of both.

So, here I am now, employed as a junior developer at IdeaZone, a web development and digital marketing company on Vancouver Island, BC. At 21 years old I’m done with school, have no debts and am working under the established old guard, with all their collective resources and experience at my disposal.

This puts me in a rather interesting position I’m eager to explore. I’m the youngest member of the company and my social circles are completely different from those of my colleagues. With my pink hair and clothes best suited to a bar or a club, I certainly look distinct from the rest of the company team. If I do say so myself, I’m a charismatic little ball of sass and sarcasm who doesn’t exactly fit in at a boardroom table.

Ultimately, this means I think very differently as well. This comes in handy when a problem comes up; I’ll use my unique perspective to think of an original solution. This echoes in my design work just as truly as it does in anything else. So, here I am trying to sink my tendrils into every nook and cranny the others wouldn’t fit well into, and frankly loving every second of it. It’s new and exciting and I can shape my career however I like.

This position wasn’t just dropped into my lap. Web design is a burgeoning stem field. It’s not like accounting where you can take a class on accounting and suddenly you know everything about accounting. (Jeez, I just said accounting a lot!)

Web design is not only a technical job; it’s artistic, and artistry isn’t as easy to teach. I do value school; for a time, I filled my days with school and work. I learned a great deal. I learned how HTML and CSS code “talked,” and I learned the wonder and glory that is the Adobe suite.

But I wasn’t taught my artist’s eye; my creativity. My teachers certainly helped develop it. But I honed my skill by studying graphics and images I saw everyday. By just staring at ads for hours and realizing why one works and another doesn’t. The only way to learn this type of skill is to just do it; to practice; to notice and observe. Eventually, one day you find yourself walking down the street and a photo frames itself in your mind before the camera is even on.

And that artist’s eye is something I take a great deal of pride in. It’s what enables me work in this awesome field were both my intellectual and creative sides can flourish. The perks of setting my own hours and working from wherever I can access my computer (or sometimes even just my phone) are like a half a pound of icing on top. Seriously; I wrote most of this blog post on my phone while relaxing in the tub!

I love my job.

At night I can go and socialize. I can enjoy my various young-adult-on-a-Friday type things and not have to worry about cramming myself back into a soul-crushing cubicle afterwards. I don’t have to work a 9-to-whenever-I-can’t-stand-it-anymore type of job.

Currently, I’m still working a second job and the hours tend to be right when the spring sun is shining its most beautiful, until right around the time twilight fades to night. I’m naturally a night person so the hours work just fine for me. But if I could dictate my work hours according to my whims, nothing would make me happier than to be out taking pictures when the sun is bright, and to fit my work schedule in around that.

Although I’m working under a boss and my work is dictated by the needs of each client, web development and digital marketing offer freedom that really isn’t found in many fields. I’m only just starting, and I’m already beginning to carve my path the way I want it to go. I have the resources of the old guard and the mind and imagination of someone born into a world of crazy technology. If nothing else, this is certainly going to be an interesting ride.

Jon Valade