Having taken a couple of side jobs this week I didn’t get to put as much time into coding as I had hoped this week but it all works in the larger scheme of things for my next move. Currently I’ve been working to build out my IT consulting business and currently gearing up to include web design and development to the list of services I can provide. Sometimes you’ve just got to take things into your own hands. I did get some coding in and development related activities.
The biggest highlight of this last week was lightning talks. As usual they were fantastic and it’s been awhile since I gave one so I jumped in and got my feet wet again. I forgot how much I enjoy giving a talk and how satisfying it is to do research and teach a topic. The biggest talk that I found incredible value in is John’s talk on getting paid as a freelance web developer. Having our backgrounds in IT be quite similar with where we’re working and the direction we’re going it was quite insightful in how to expand into the web design and development contract world. It came at good timing since I had a lot of questions about freelancing but not many answers yet since I’m at the very beginning stages of deploying it as a service. The talks were all fantastic and I came away from every talk learning something new and that’s the whole point of the talks.
The rest of the week consisted of working on two projects the main one at this stage being building a new website for my consulting company. With my pursuit of expanding my foundations I went at my new site with that intention in hand. I find the best way to learn something and get a grasp of the core concepts is by working on them on a project you give a damn about so that’s what I’ve been doing. I went back to the drawing board and started to figure out what I wanted from my site, who my clients would be, what services I would provide, and start contemplating the rates in which I would charge for said services. I have gone at my website like I would go at a client’s project by figure out the client’s needs, their brand, their voice, their core audience, and what their goals are, I find this approach to be extremely useful when attacking a client project. I’ve used these fundamental core questions to successfully land clients and complete projects on goal and usually under budget so why wouldn’t it work with myself?
The pursuit of going at my site with 100% core concepts has not been exactly easy but so far it has been an excellent learning experience. I feel like I have gained a stronger core understanding of the fundamentals which allows me a better understanding of how the HTML/CSS/Web frameworks deploy their methodologies. Even with learning the core fundamentals more solidly I still feel like the frameworks in many cases are a better choice to go since it just shortens up the process and allows more efficiency. One of the most important things I’ve taken away from my years of being a metal fabricator is your life will infinitely be easier if you are using the right tool for the job and in web design and development that concept is just as true. If I can cut down my time and stress by using the right tool for the job then I’m going to use that tool, however, knowing how those tools work allows you to modify and manipulate those tools to better serve your needs. Both foundations and tools are greatly important, both should be studied diligently.
My next project I’ve been working on is a client intake tracker and counselor communication logger. It’s something that there really isn’t a piece of lean and affordable piece of software for rehab and halfway houses. Having a working knowledge of that industry with a handful of my business clients being part of that industry has given me a great insight and access to what they would need. It’s a niche industry but that’s where there is often not software that represents the needs of those fields. That app hasn’t gone far, I’m in the very beginning phases of development and research but it’s an excellent way to expanding my skills and build a more robust skillset. From the beginning I’ve been sold on the idea that the best way to improve your skills is to apply them to real world examples and this is just one of the ways in which I plan to become a better developer.
This last week was a better calmer pace and pushing more of my IT consulting services and working on finding where I can fit those in with my web development pursuits. With priorities having to be adjusted for my personal situation and seeing a serious lack of quality and affordable web design and development in my area it seems like the perfect time to start ramping up the hustle and start building out my company a bit more. It’s all very much in the works but it’s exciting to see where I can take this. This coming week will hopefully be a more impactful and active web development week.