A Strange Path to Becoming a Web Developer The Story of Alfredo J. Bermúdez

I build things for the web*

I have over five years of experience working with Javascript, HTML and CSS. This includes frameworks and libraries like Bootstrap, AngularJS and React. In the back-end I’ve worked with PHP and ASP.NET C#. If you want to get an idea of what I’m capable, this page is built with Jekyll, SASS and Vanilla ES6 JavaScript with a smidge of lodash and the new Web Animation API, bundled with Webpack 2. The code from this page, and other projects is in my Github. If you’d like to read more of how I got here, just follow the path.

Ah, how do people end up in the jobs they have? There are people who plan their lives from a young age, on straight little railroad tracks without any deviations on that choo-choo train they call life. Others however don’t like trains, and prefer cars that drive through all kinds of curves, twists, and even offroad.

I’m in the second group. In a strange way, checking out the different overpasses of life (or you know, you took the wrong path, and had to find that u-turn) has given me some opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. If you would like to roadtrip through my nostalgia, follow me on A Strange* Path to Becoming a Web Developer: the Story of Alfredo Bermudez.

A few centuries ago*

I was a teen with somewhat developed art skills and a penchant for computers. During these turbulent and stormy times, I built my first PC from spare parts and installed a pirated* copy of Photoshop 6. I started meddling with digital art and photo manipulation and decided that I could do this during “flexible” work hours as a career. So the logical step was to become a graphic designer.

Or so I thought.

While studying for my bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design I took a class focused on website development. At that time HTML Tables still ruled the land and CSS was just starting to become ubiquitous. However, the professor was a hardcore geek and wanted us to learn everything, from doing math with binary numbers to learning JavaScript. That class ignited a spark within me. I wanted to code. But for some reason I thought that I wanted to become a Computer Engineer. By that time I didn’t imagine owning the title of web developer, and hadn’t even heard the term front-end.

Some time later

During my misguided tour in computer engineering, a group of friends of mine started a political satire show. Due to my background, I became the show’s Swiss Army Knife*. I was the show’s graphic designer, editor, special effect artist, and web developer.

It wasn’t really successful but we had the opportunity to meet several political figures from Puerto Rico. That’s when I was offered a job as a web developer for a political candidate. They realized something that I hadn’t by then, which is that knowing both graphic design and how to code was a powerful combination*.

After the campaign was over I continued working as a freelance front-end developer building custom Wordpress themes and static web pages, front-end stuff. While working freelance I finished my bachelor’s in graphic design with a final project that would push my web development skills beyond just client-side development.

Beyond the Front-End of the Web

For my final project I decided to make an interactive web-comic. In my web-comic, the reader/user would become my co-author. Yet, I needed a way for the users to save their work. For that I would need to learn how to make a database and actually know how to interact with it. Due to my familiarity with Wordpress, I settled for programming it with PHP and MySQL in the backend. After months of scouring documentation I finished the project, which can be found in AlfredoUnaPseudoBiografia.com - Source.

After graduation I kept freelancing for some time. During that time I kept learning more JavaScript, breaking out of my jQuery roots. That’s when I was contacted by an agency that was looking for a front-end developer. I didn’t look twice and leapt for the opportunity.

This Is NOT The End

The spark I felt when I first wrote some HTML, has become a forest fire. Front-End development is what I wanted since the beginning. For me part of the fun of all this is how fast this community is growing and changing. I find the slew frameworks and tools that keep popping up exciting. That’s why I decided to make this webpage something more than just another “Web Business Card”. I want to really become part of the community of Front-End Developers and to start giving back by helping others.

Here’s the plan

I’ll be writing in my experiments section about, mostly JavaScript related experiments that I’ll be doing for my own learning purposes. I’ll explain how I solved the problem and document the tools and research I needed to solve it. Hopefully this helps someone in search of similar answers.

Follow me or contact me for questions, suggestions or just about anything:

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