It’s been little under a year since Teapot welcomed me into their midst with open arms, and I must say the time has flown by. I’ll give our readers out there an insight into my transition from Apprentice to Junior Web Developer, what I’ve picked up along the way and also some of my favourite sites that I have created.
Apart from a couple of modules that I had completed in college, I had zero knowledge of web design whatsoever prior to starting life at Teapot. If a colleague were to tell me to create a site I would have simply stared back at them with a blank expression on my face. Fast-forward a year and a half, that blank expression is gone and sites are flowing thick and fast; however we’ll come to all of that!
Let’s start at the beginning. Upon arrival at Teapot I got stuck straight in with looking at the basics of HTML and CSS to expand my knowledge and kick off my learning! Alongside code, I also started to learn how to use the open source software, WordPress by helping out the development team with day-to-day tasks. This would include transferring blogs, creating and setting up pages, etc.
Once I had completed all of the courses on Codecademy and had a bit of experience in the field, I got the chance to build my first website, The Sugar Cube Gallery.
My first site
Creating The Sugar Cube Gallery was a fantastic experience, especially because the clients were The Directors themselves! This meant there was no specific time frame in which the site had to be delivered, which gave me a lot of opportunity to play around with different WordPress Plugins and features. Looking back at the Sugar Cube there is a lot of things that I would have done differently thanks to my knowledge now, but it definitely set me up for building my first client sites.
As the months flew by and the sites began to go live more and more frequent, I began to learn new techniques, which constantly help me match the site design and produce great looking sites. During these months I had also made the transition from Apprentice to Junior Web Designer, this meant I had less college work and could focus all of my time on building sites and enhancing my knowledge. If you look through the websites that I have created in order of date, anyone can clearly see my level of competence has increased over time as well as my confidence.
Since starting at Teapot Creative, there have been many notable sites that I have created. Each of these sites has their own reason for being memorable, some good reasons and some were a huge learning curve.
My most challenging sites
When it comes to thinking about the most challenging sites that I have created, there are only two that spring to mind immediately. These would be Pinewood Lodges and La Petite Pommeraie. The sites themselves weren’t necessarily hard to design; however there were some plugins and time frames, which made the sites that tiny bit more challenging than others.
Pinewood Lodges was an incredible site to build. Not only does the new site look beautiful, but there were also aspects of the site that took a lot of patience and learning to overcome. When inputting each individual lodge onto the site I needed to have a way so the clients could set up their own lodges with no hassle. I used a plugin called Advanced Custom Fields, which enabled me to set up fields and categories for the clients to fill in. Once filled in and assigned to the correct category the lodge would be outputted on the correct page. La Petite Pommeraie’s challenge was along the same lines as Pinewood Lodges in the fact that both required me to delve into a plugin that I had no knowledge of. The client required a booking calendar, which had to work to their specifications. I went through numerous plugins and eventually found the one that would suit the client specifications. That however was the easy part, I then had to configure the plugin and make sure that everything worked perfectly on the front end, through emails and most importantly through the calendar! This proved to be very challenging but I powered on through and managed to get the calendar working as envisioned. I am counting on and expecting more challenges like this to come up because they are fantastic learning experiences.
My favourite and most enjoyable sites
Along with challenging sites, there have been some sites that I have really enjoyed building. This could be because the site was built without a single hitch or simply because the design is fantastic and it looks great. The one that sticks out in my mind the most is my most recent website, Sampson Coaching. The design for this site was stunning which made it that much more enjoyable to create. The homepage has a parallax effect on it, which is very easy on the eye when manoeuvring around the page. But don’t take my word for it, please have a look yourself!
I have thoroughly enjoyed transitioning from an Apprentice into a Junior Web Developer, the work is ever growing and I am constantly learning. I hope to continue on as I am and enjoy everything that is thrown at me!