A Day in The Life: What Goes On in a Developers Mind?

By on 09/23/2016

There are left-brained people and there are right-brained people. Then there’s the rare “all-brained,” if you will, people that blow your mind with their technical prowess and equally exceptional ability to be creative. Black Bear is fortunate to have one such all-brained genius named Tony. At first look, you’d gather that Tony is incredibly artistic (with his full sleeve of tattoos) and creative. What you might miss though is that he’s a top website developer. Curious what a day in his life is like? He gives us the dish.


The Friendly Vegan

Before we dive into a typical day in Tony’s world, let’s get to know Tony. He’s a dedicated vegan and dad who is likely the nicest person you will ever meet. Seriously. He’s a talented developer, but also creates incredible illustrations. He is definitely not your typical developer, but he’s passionate nonetheless!

Q: Why are you passionate about website development?

A: Nowadays, nearly anyone can sign up for a free, DIY website builder and create their own site. Don’t get me wrong, these services are great at what they do, but I’m passionate about web design and development because it allows me to serve a purpose. Web design is about serving the client and understanding their needs. How can what I do with Black Bear make their business more successful? That is what I love about web design and development.

Q: What education did you receive to become a web developer?

A grand total of…two classes! During my time at the Art Institute of Atlanta, I took two classes in web design, mostly to round out my degree in graphic design. I was content with my graphic design degree and never really considered web design or development as a career choice.

The two classes I took, Intro to HTML and Flash Animation, were the only formal education I received in terms of web design and development. I got my first design job in 2003 and was fortunate enough to have someone take a chance on me. Everything I’ve learned since then has been a result of having to figure something out.

This guy may not have received a formal, four-year web design education, but he truly is one of the best (just look at his work). Don’t let his modesty fool you!

Q: How did you learn to code?

The HTML class I took in college was the just the beginning. It taught me seven or eight basic tags, CSS and a little bit of Javascript. From there, I focused on learning different CMS systems. Eventually, I settled on WordPress and made myself familiar with developing themes with PHP. There’s no better lesson than needing to learn it to be successful at my job, so I have taught myself quite a bit.

Q: Alright, on to your life at Black Bear. How do you juggle so many projects at once?

Jena (our project manager)! She organizes all my projects, making sure everything’s in order and easy to digest. She manages an insane calendar, constantly updating what needs to be a priority. If not for her, I’d be working on the same project all day. It’s nice to have some variety every day to break up the workload.

Q: So, once you’re assigned a new project, what’s the first thing you do?

A: I sit down with our team and the client to conduct an audit. We discuss what they’re looking for and how to design the website to their liking. Once we’ve got a solid understanding of the scope of the project, I’ll do some research to uncover more information before entering the design phase.

In the design phase, we spec out everything: typography, the colors of the buttons, forms, you name it. Once completed, I put together a style tile to present to the clients. Assuming they’re happy, I move onto wireframes. These show the basic skeleton of a site and how it will be laid out. No colors, just lines and boxes—almost like a blueprint for the site’s visual presentation.

Now I wait. Once the client gets back to Black Bear about any changes they want to make, I convert those style tiles into code. I begin with a basic, stripped-down WordPress theme and start building from there, using the wireframes and style tiles as my guide. From here, I start building out the basic styling and any custom functionality that doesn’t already ship with WordPress.

Q: After you’re exhausted after the entire pre-design process, how do you take a break?

I zone out by looking at something else or just walking around. Or, if I don’t want to give my eyes a break, I’ll get on Twitter and Instagram. I also like to make some dumb jokes around the office which everyone loves. Right?

Of course, Tony. We love your silly jokes! Tony is truly a one-of-a-kind, self-taught developer and designer who goes above and beyond to exceed client expectations. We’re lucky to have this all-brained creative to concept, design and develop websites for our clients. Want Tony to create a website for you? Stop on by!

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