Alumni Spotlight: Stefanie Young and Lorne Barfield

Alumni Spotlight: Stefanie Young and Lorne Barfield

 

Stefanie Young and Lorne Barfield are both Codeup grads and the co-founders of Innov8 Place, a website development company. Here, they share their highs, their lows, their experience and their best tips for succeeding during and after the program.

Please give a little introduction about yourself.

Stefanie: I’m originally from California. I grew up in the Silicon Valley before the days of Google and had a pretty decent handle on free internet via AOL Trial discs, Napster torrenting, and multi-player gaming platforms (before they were cool). Given the mid to late 90’s, I had quite a bit of backlash within the online communities for my gender and my age. I gave up on tech during my early college years when a female professor told me, “there no room for women in the booming tech industry.” I quickly turned to music and language arts and found myself pursuing the long-term degree before leaving for Texas to enter a Japanese Studies program. I had a rude awakening and poor experience when most jobs I was offered were non-technical, non-creative, and extremely repetitive. It wasn’t going to work. My grandfather had always been a firm believer that I was meant for tech, engineering and developing new ideas. After chatting with him about my failed attempts and unhappiness, I decided to give tech another try through coding and entered into the Codeup family. I worked full-time while attending a night class and found myself doubting my abilities from the beginning. During our first project, something clicked and with the help of the instructors, I had a new-found love for problem solving, developing and code. I haven’t turned back since.

Lorne: I’m also from California.  I hail from Oakland.  I’m into just about everything.  I have worked as a high school basketball coach, personal chef, bartender, bouncer, opera singer, paralegal/legal assistant, and dance instructor.  I love movies and books….I read about 40+ a year.  I’m into fantasy and sci-fi, but also enjoy reading Deepak Chopra and books about travelogues (which is somewhat funny because I’m terrified of traveling). I’m a hippie, jock, musician, and nerd. I love people and connection and for someone who grew up largely an only child, I’m always out creating new family.  If something interests me, I pursue it.  I like to dive into things that I can share with others.  I’m an avid NBA fan (Go Warriors!) and if you ever want to argue about basketball, I’m game.  If you want to see me fully free and in my element, put me around music and dancing. Programming puts me back in my Lego days, where I get to be creative and build things. It’s my new adventure.

Can you describe your career path and how you got to where you are now? Were you always interested in programming?

Stefanie: I wasn’t always interested in programming. I had always seen programming as a career that leads to a dark room with smelly individuals, Cheetos and Mountain Dew. I didn’t want to be placed in a cubical and made to work 10 – 16 hour days to complete a project or operating system. Web development when I first set out to learn tech was not a major degree option or talked about much. Browsers were faulty and new to the scene. It was a questionable career path at the time. My grandfather was an engineer with Stanford University and always brought home hardware for PCs. I thought that would be my path as well. I loved building and problem solving the communication errors between parts. Little did I know that programming was that too on a more abstract and dynamic level.

Lorne: I absolutely thought programming was way out of my range and my experience.  Nothing about it felt like something I would be into.  I had simply grown out of my old position and location.  I was a paralegal in San Francisco and I was no longer challenged.  I wanted to go back to school or do something new but had no clue what.  It was too expensive to do there, my parents brought up Codeup (they live here), and here I am.

Why did you look into an immersive program? Why the Codeup experience?

Stefanie: Honestly, I was extremely doubtful of the program, especially after being trained into the thought process that traditional college was the only form of useful education and the only experience one should seek before career searching. It wasn’t until I was trying to break into marketing firms, coding communities and design groups that I was told about the program. Three people approached me and recommended the program. I didn’t listen. Then life started shouting it at me. I saw the billboard… then a marketing card in the mail… and then I heard a friend talking about their acceptance into the program. Finally I gave in and went to the Codeup location.I took a couple of tests and passed with flying colors. I decided to take the leap since they were offering a night program that started after work hours. Since they helped with job placement as well, I took them to be my chance at a better work life.

Lorne: I was on the verge of going to teach English in Turkey when my parents suggested that I look at Codeup.  I took the test, not sure if I’d get in, and then when I did, I bought a ticket the next day and the rest is history.

What was your experience with Codeup?

Stefanie: Overall, my experience was eye-opening. I did not expect to have young mothers, grandmothers, high school graduates or college graduates with Masters in the same class. The culture was liberating since we were all there for the same reason – to change our paths and achieve new goals. The instructors were very hands on and helped everyone thinking about problem-solving in new ways and how to attempt developing ideas out of nothing. The hardest step was always deciding where to start and finding the confidence to dive in, code first, and prepare to work through your own problems and use the resources available.

Lorne: Codeup opened my eyes to a new world.  They made programming and something that seemed so daunting, really fun.  I never thought I would enjoy it, but the collaborative nature of it and the creative juices that got to come out, made me fall in love with it.  The instructors, the classroom, everything about it made me feel like I could do it.  I think that was the largest thing.  Despite any difficulties or frustrating, I felt empowered…like given time and community, I could solve anything.  That’s an awesome feeling.

How do you feel Codeup has helped/is helping you grow? Did/How has Codeup’s career services helped you?

Stefanie: The program taught me independence and confidence. I am more free-thinking than I have ever been. I understand how to think about everyday issues from multiple viewpoints, and I know how to stand my ground and prove my points and way of thinking. I know that it’s okay to be wrong and how to go about admitting it. Even if it seems counterproductive to building independence, I know it’s okay to ask for help.The program also taught me about resourcefulness and communication on a whole new level. These two features alone were enough to land me just about any job. Soft skills are just as important as the hard skills.

Lorne: It taught me how to break down problems.  It taught me how to ask for help and that is perfectly right and ok. Codeup gave me my first job, and kind of my second, as I worked for one of the founders as my second.  They always believe in their students and help them match and grow.

Any advice for current and future Codeup Alumni?

Stefanie: Understand that this program is meant to accelerate your learning of development. You have to be hungry for this knowledge and supplement the curriculum outside of the classroom as well as practicing it. There has to be a drive for the goal ahead. Be willing to sacrifice some of your free time.This class is so much more rewarding if you learn to work as a class unit early on and help each other succeed. Employers will see it in your example work, the projects and want to hear about your ability to communicate and mesh well as a developer. Be open-minded and be willing to be wrong. I learned so much more from being wrong than from being right. Experience is priceless in the long run. 

Lorne: Stay patient and humble.  This world of programming is huge.  It can be overwhelming.  Just keep that learner mind and understand that time and keyboard time are your greatest assets.   It may not feel like you’re growing, but then you’ll look up every now and then and realize just how much you know and how far you’ve come.  It’s a pretty awesome feeling.

What was the best part of the experience in your opinion?

Stefanie: The staff and fellow classmates made the program great in my eyes. The interactions and experiences of having a new community of people who had similar goals made for a welcoming and productive environment.

Lorne: I think the greatest part is the classroom.  The idea that when everyone shares knowledge, everyone succeeds.  The collaborative power of coding is insane and if there’s anything I can attribute to the rapid rise of technology is that it brought a collective human mind to any problem.  People from all over the world now have the ability to work together to create brand new things.  You get your first taste of that in the classroom.  The sense that everyone wants you to succeed and you can lean on one another to fill in gaps where you may not be the strongest.  It’s a really amazing feeling.

Alumni Spotlight: Mary-Kaitlin (MK) Warren

Alumni Spotlight: Mary-Kaitlin (MK) Warren

From being an Assistant Manager at Entreprise Rent-A-Car to becoming a stellar programmer, MK shares her path that led her to where she is now—a student in the Microsoft LEAP program.

Can you describe your career story and how you got to where you are right now?

Random. My senior year of high school, I started watching Bones and first heard of Anthropology. So I majored in Anthropology. I also majored in German, because I wanted a back up plan in case I decided not to go to grad school for Anthropology, and everybody knows that companies are fighting over German majors. The spring semester of my senior year, I had no plan and my family told me that I needed to get a job, so I hit up Monster and applied to Enterprise’s Management Training program. Randomly, I got the job. After 2 years I decided I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life. I got on Monster (I should send them a card) and randomly found Codeup. I think it was an ad? Pretty sure I didn’t know what a bootcamp was at the time. After that, it gets less random and more Codeup driven. My first job after Codeup was with a company that had come to my Demo Day. The job after that was with a company that came to do onsite interviews at Codeup. I found out about my current opportunity through Codeup as well. So… three cheers (or jobs) for Codeup!

How do you think your past has brought you here to Codeup?

I had taken a computer science class in high school and done well. When I was looking to transition out of the customer service/sales realm, I knew that I wanted a set of hard skills, and luckily Codeup offered a place to grow those.

There are a lot of options out there for learning to code. Why Codeup? 

I thought about trying to do something online, like CodeAcademy, but I ended up going with Codeup because of the connections. Where as DIYing your coding education is possible, it’s hard to get your resume through the door if you have no professional experience. Codeup helped make initial connections that have propelled me into the career that I want. Also, I am terrible at making myself watch videos online.

What got you hooked on programming or the idea of moving into the tech space?

I am drawn to programming because there is an answer. If your code doesn’t compile, there is a reason (and probably a silly one at that). It was a nice change of pace coming from a liberal arts background, where things are a little less black and white.

What are some things you like about Codeup? 

Definitely the snacks.

What would you change/want to see us do differently?

It’s hard for a coding school to do this, because it is a business, but a little more clarity upfront about the types of positions to expect (especially in a market like San Antonio), would have been nice. Part of the reason why I decided to do Codeup was the claim that graduates made 15k more afterwards, and so I took out the loan for 15k with the idea that I could pay it back in less than a year. A month in, I realized that the average graduate salary was about 15k less than I was making, so that was a little disappointing and cause some numbers shuffling. Again, I know that’s kind of a hard thing to change, but it’s the only suggestion that I have. Everything else was pretty good.

What are your plans after Codeup, both in the immediate and long term?

Well, speaking in hindsight, short term was to get paid to program and get some experience on my resume. Long term is to move into a tech arch role, change the world with some awesome software and/or hardware, and become Tony Stark.

A lot of people don’t think of SA as being a vibrant city for Society of Women Engineers (SWE). What have you seen in terms of the city, people, events, etc. that contradict this idea? 

We’re on the comeup.

 I would say that San Antonio has a lot of companies that have very robust SWE communities that exist outside of the Downtown/Houston street epicenter. I think that because of the geography of San Antonio (read: sprawl), it is harder to see than a place like Austin or Seattle.

What are some of the things minorities, disenfranchised and marginalized groups need to know about the support, or lack thereof, within Codeup?

Codeup is there to support you. Practically speaking, their success is your success. Aside from that, everyone there is super supportive and just generally nice. If you aren’t understanding a topic, the instructors are willing to help and walk you through it (even on their lunch break. WOW!!!).

What would you say to these groups of people who are on the fence about joining a bootcamp due to lack of diversity, inclusivity, and overall fear of not having the support that they would need?

This is a bit tricky. I would say that first and foremost, know you’re own truth. Software isn’t for everyone, so have that moment of honesty where you decide if you are doing this because you like the idea of programming every day, or because you like the idea of a 6 figure salary in 4 months and working from home everyday (spoiler alert: highly unlikely for your first, or dare I say, second programming job). If you are passionate about building software for the rest of your life, I honestly believe that Codeup is the best place to start that journey. The community is incredible; the instructors are amazeballs; the staff is incredibly supportive; and the founders are boss *** hustlers. It truly is the best place to start your development journey in San Antonio. (P.S. if you are from out of town, forget Codeup. Come to San Antonio for the breakfast tacos, and stay for Codeup.)

How’d you find out about the LEAP program and what are some of the reasons for wanting to participate?

Dylan sent out an email with some information about the program, and it seemed like an awesome opportunity. If you don’t major in CS, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to “intern” for the Microsofts/Googles/Facebooks of the world. LEAP is awesome, because it gives you that same foot in the door that an internship gives, even if you didn’t go the traditional Computer Science route. (Also: Seattle weather, multitude of hiking trails, coffee).

LEAP is an incredible opportunity! What are you planning on doing after completing the program?

Keep learning. Become Tony Stark.

Anything else you would like to talk about regarding the Career Services and Development through Codeup?

c:\myPath. In other words, Codeup’s Career Services and Development has gotten me 3/3 gigs. That goes to show that just because you get your first job, doesn’t mean that you are out of the family.

Advice for Programmers

Advice for Programmers

As our most recent cohort flies the coop, they leave us with a plethora of wise words for aspiring and experienced programmers alike:

“Work together as much as possible.”

“When you’re stuck on something, don’t be afraid to walk away, take a break, and come back.”

“Read the documentation.”

“Everything builds on the foundation.”

“Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

“Ask questions even if you think you’ve got it!”

“Take advantage of all the resources available to you.”

“This is all about cooperative and collaborative learning.”

“Accept the confusion. It’s all part of the process.”

“Break everything! Break your code! It’s a great way to learn how things work and how to fix stuff. Don’t be afraid to break things.”

“Leave good comments in your code. You’ll thank yourself later.”

“Working together starts with getting to know each other.”

What are some words of wisdom you’ve gathered from the workplace?

Where to Learn to Code in San Antonio

Without any background knowledge it’s easy to end up in the wrong level of instruction, learning the wrong code, at the wrong time. Whether it’s a full-fledged degree or a 3-month bootcamp, there’s an array of opportunities for aspiring programmers in San Antonio.

The most traditional route to a programming education is enrolling in a university or community college. Almost all of the major universities in San Antonio, including The University of Texas at San Antonio, Trinity University, and Texas A&M San Antonio offer a degree in computer science. The Alamo Colleges also has associates degrees in computer science and certificates in related subjects like C++ , Linux, SQL and Java. Attending a university is expensive; tuition at these schools usually runs from about $10,000 to $60,000 a year, which can quickly add up to an unmanageable amount after four years. Two years of core curriculum filled with history, math, and science is also required before students start learning how to code. Sometimes an employer will require a degree before they look at programming skills, so this path is advantageous to those who need that piece of paper.

There are programs in San Antonio teaching necessary programming skills that are less expensive and less time consuming than the traditional university route. Local tech giant Rackspace Hosting started Open Cloud Academy to give San Antonians a hands-on learning experience. Learning tracks include Linux Sys Admin and Network Operations. They have plans to add Software Development in the future. The courses are usually six to eight weeks long and cost around $4,000. Codeup is another great way to learn programming with a focus on Web Development. In twelve-weeks students go from non-techie to talented web programmer for between $9,875 to $13,900. Both programs offer special incentives for the ladies who want to learn how to code. There’s a huge lack of diversity in the tech industry and they’re looking to close the gap. Codeup offers 50% off tuition for several ladies each cohort and Open Cloud Academy gives out 20 scholarships for women participating in Linux for Ladies.

Free less extensive classes are also available for teens and vets. Codeup Teens lets high school students get a taste of what being a programmer is all about, without having to pay a cent. The same opportunities are offered for veterans and active duty military through Codeup Vets. Younger kids can try out Made With Code for a basic and fun introduction to coding. Other single-day events include the very popular SA Code Jam for kids of all ages and the School’s Out Hackathon run by actual high school students for high schoolers.

San Antonio has a vibrant up-and-coming tech scene with lots of opportunities to get involved. Universities deliver a structured learning environment and degrees many employers are looking for. Bootcamps are perfect for those who want to learn quickly and start working. Either way, programming is a valuable and profitable career path worth considering.

5 Tools Every Programmer Should Use

5 Tools Every Programmer Should Use

Every trade has tools that are needed to do work, and this is especially true in computer programming. One could probably use notepad and save their code to a floppy disk, but tools have evolved to be much more functional and a pleasure to use. The cool thing about programming is that there is always room to grow and improve; the same comes into play with learning new tools. Here are five tools every programmer should use when coding.

Great editor

Several of the editors that I stick close to are the Sublime Text, Textmate, and Vim. I tend to lean more towards Vim only because I have become used to its commands and the lack of mouse usage. Plus, you get bragging rights just about everywhere you go. Sometimes, I need to sift through list of data or do some front end work, so I tend to use Sublime Text. Textmate was my previous editor and is now open source, so I included it for your consideration.

REPL program

Another great tool when you are learning a new language or testing stuff out is a great REPL tool for that language. REPL stands for Read-Eval-Print Loop. You can run the languages’ syntax through its provided REPL, giving you a better understanding of how the code works. Below is a list of REPLs I have used in the past:

  • PHP $ php -a
  • PHP psysh
  • Ruby $ irb
  • Rails $ rails
  • Javascript in the Chrome console

Great browser

I listed the Chrome inspector for Javascript as a possible REPL program. Having a good browser helps when developing. Using Chrome’s inspector for console.log has saved my life many times. It is a great way to debug and helps when you are trying to find your way through the flow. Using breakpoints help when following data flow throughout your code, as well.

Chrome also has numerous extensions that allow users to customize their experience, and there are some great extensions made for developers. If you are interested in building your own extensions, Google offers some great documentation to make that work. Overall, Google Chrome has a lot to offer for developers working on the web.

Database tools

“I love to run SQL statements and combine SQL statements on top of other SQL statements”, said no one ever. Below is a list of nice to use GUI tools for database management:

Rubber duck

Last, but not least, I believe every programmer needs a rubber duck.

 

Talking code out loud or explaining usually leads to the solutions you need for your code. Too often I would call or message a mentor of mine and talk to them about my code, and a solution would come to me in mid sentence. This gives my mentor the ability to ask “Did you just rubber duck me?” which is an awkward question in itself. Talking code out with a rubber duck before bothering a mentor will save you more than it will make you feel strange.

Find the tools that make you code productively and build you into a better programmer. What are your favorite tools?

 

Have questions? Contact us!

What Developers Need to Have for their Online Presence

We want to get our students hired. In order to do so, we have had two to three guest speakers each week come in and talk about their experiences in finding work, working for different companies, working for themselves, how to find work, how to interview, how to give public presentation, etc. We have given our students a wealth of information when it comes to finding a job and what to expect in those jobs. We have also put some stress on their online presence, which is important in this day and age because so much information about us is available online. In order for employers to take them seriously, we have been coaching them on how to optimize their online presence.

In doing so, we came up with a checklist of things to look for when optimizing one’s online presence:

[  ]  You have plenty of detail in your LinkedIn profile. What have you done? What measurable benefit has it provided?

(Example of a great LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jdstraughan; another one: https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardortega) Find some things in your past and make therm sound good!

[  ] You have and use an active Twitter account.

[  ] Your Twitter profile has a link to your website and says that you’re actively seeking employment.

[  ] You have no gaps in your timeline in LinkedIn.

[  ] Your LinkedIn has a summary that includes prominently that you’re looking for employment.

[  ] Your LinkedIn title is “Web Developer” or “Full-stack Web Developer.”

[  ] You have a personal website + blog with your resume on it.

[  ] You have written or will write several blog entries.

[  ] You have a professional photograph on your LinkedIn and Github.

[  ] Your LinkedIn has no typographical or spelling errors.

[  ] Your LinkedIn has the opportunities wanted section completed.

[  ]  You should update your LinkedIn weekly while searching for a job. It moves you to the top of the list.

[  ] Your capstone project has a README with installation instructions.

[  ] Your github has no misspellings.

Hopefully, this list helps you better understand what is necessary to have a great online presence, one that will help you get hired by a great company. For more help becoming a developer and getting hired as one (or your money back), apply for our Web Development program!

Good luck out there!

Learning to Code vs Learning to Build

In creating Codeup, we interviewed a lot of people, and we discovered an ugly truth: there are tons of ways out there to learn to code. However, there are few that would teach you how to apply your newfound knowledge. People would tell us: “I went through Codeacademy or a CS program at college and I can’t make anything.”

As we talked to employers, we confirmed this ugly truth: tons of people can “code” but few can actually build anything. Why, we asked, do employers only want to hire people with 3+ years experience? That’s because classical education opportunities are clearly not teaching people how to build real stuff.

So, for Codeup, we built a program designed not to teach people “how to code” but instead “how to build.” At each stage of the course, the emphasis is on building stuff: a blog using framework, a jQuery game, command line applications, and then a Capstone Project that is representative of a real-world, production application.

If you want to be employable, learn to build stuff using code. That’s what we’re all about.

What is a Full Stack Developer?

What is a full stack developer? Read our blog to learn more!

Written by Hannah Westberg

We have talked before about different types of programmers, but we have yet to touch on the elusive “ full stack developer. ” Varying definitions of this title exist: from a developer specialized in everything from front-end to back-end; to a developer who has a general knowledge in all steps from concept to finished product; to a fictional figure with a virtually unattainable skill set.

Full stack die-hards would consider a full stack developer to have specialized knowledge in all stages of software development. Thus, they would be proficient, if not fluent, in:

  • Server, network, and hosting environment
  • Relational and nonrelational databases
  • How to interact with APIs and the external world
  • User interface and user experience
  • Quality assurance
  • Security concerns throughout the program
  • Understanding customer and business needs

Is this possible in Web 2.0? Naysayers argue that with the increasingly diverse aspects of web development, it’s virtually impossible to be a true full stack developer. Frankly, it may not even be practical to do so.

Others are of the opinion that a full stack developer is simply someone who is familiar with all layers in computer software development. These developers aren’t experts at everything; they simply have a functional knowledge and ability to take a concept and turn it into a finished product. Such gurus make building software much easier as they understand how everything works from top to bottom and can anticipate problems accordingly. In our opinion, this is the most realistic definition of a full stack developer.

Often times,  this class of developers stems from start-up environments, where a vast knowledge of all facets of web development is essential for a business’ survival.

Clearly, it takes years of work experience in different languages, roles, and industries to reach this level of qualification. Because of this, full stack developers are few and far between, making those who exist very employable and in-demand.

Interested in becoming a full stack developer? Give us a call at (210) 802-7289 or fill out the form below and our team will be in touch soon!



What are Web Programmers?

Continuing with our series of the different types of computer programmers out there, we will be discussing what a web programmer does. They often work closely with web designers who are mostly responsible for making websites look aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, depending on the audience. Simply put, web programmers are responsible for how the website works.

Websites are not things that people can build and just leave on the Internet and expect great results. As things change over time, such as company growth and diversification of products and services, websites need to be maintenanced and updated. In order to do so, programmers must know a variety of programming languages, such as C++, Java, Javascript, PHP, Python, HTML, and CSS, in order to build websites more completely and build apps within the websites.

Launching websites

When web apps are built for different platforms, it is up to web programmers to make sure that the launch of the application goes smoothly. An example of a website launch gone awry at launch time would be healthcare.gov. When the site was launched last year, the site did not work as it had been advertised for many people, becoming an embarrassment for the federal government. The website was rushed in order to meet a specific deadline. Launching websites takes a lot of time and a team of people to make sure that the website meets all of the criteria set form by the team or company and works properly as a version 1.0. Websites can always be updated later, but the first version of the website has to be stable and working for as many users as possible, unless companies are interested in having another failure like the health care website.

Updates

Web programmers are responsible for updating websites with new apps and features in order to keep up with changes in the business landscape. Web programmers have to query users to gain insight on additional application requirements for web apps. This way, they can figure out what specifications they need in order to build apps that will work with what software and hardware people are using. For example, recently, Google had made it a requirement if people wanted a YouTube account, it would be directly connected to Google+. This was a huge change to the website and the way people login and manage their channels on YouTube, and there were problems, but in the end, it has been working and updated with bug fixes to keep it running smoothly, which is another responsibility for web programmers.

Maintenance

Imagine if high traffic websites, like Facebook, Google, and YouTube, were not kept up and never updated. They would fail immensely and never amount to anything. People would leave and go someplace else that is properly maintained. Web programmers need to maintain websites to make sure they are functioning well. Coding is very difficult, and ideas on paper may not work in the real world, so programmers have to go back into the code, debug it, test it, and continue this process until they are able to make stable changes to websites. This is also why when you see major updates for websites, they are few and far between. Smaller updates take less time and are meant for maintenance.

Salary

Web programmers can make between $40,000 – $80,000 per year, depending on experience and level of work. Some can make much more than that, depending on who they work for and what they are doing. Salaries are expected to go up in the future, so learning how to code now and programming websites are good strategies to start a new life in a new career.

Now that we talked about web designers and web programmers, we can talk about the different jobs of web programmers, differentiated in two categories: front-end and back-end. Stay tuned to the blog for that information!

Interested in learning more about Codeup and what we have to offer? Contact us here or give us a call at (210) 802-7289.

What is a Web Designer?

The big world of computer programming contains many roles that need to cooperate for everything to work. Think of “computer programming” as an umbrella term for many different types of people doing different but complementary things. Today, we will discuss the meaning of a web designer, a term used in the computer programming field.

We will be begin with what we see when we look at a web page: the design.

Web Designer

A web designer handles the way a web page looks. When users access a web page, the ease with which they find necessary information determines the quality of the user experience. If the website looks ugly or feels difficult to navigate, users probably won’t return to the website. Some examples of the technologies web designers will use include HTML5, CSS3, PHP, Flash, and JavaScript.

This list outlines things that web designers have to keep in mind when deciding how to design a website:

Marketing and communication

How can we define the target group and what works with them? A web designer must consider these questions, among others, when thinking about the design of the website. For example, if we consider culture as a factor for a target group, look at the Korean website G-Market and the American website Amazon. Many websites in the Asian market contain cluttered graphics that constantly try to get your attention. However, in the North American market, Amazon treats its customers differently. They only offer what consumers find interesting based on their browsing history. Designers must understand their audience and how best to communicate with them before diving into the design of the website.

User experience 

Without appropriate labeling and an understanding of how the website works, a user cannot gain any useful information from a website. Depending on a user’s level of computer literacy, having a difficult user experience will prevent that user from using the website ever again. Great user experience allows users to gain the most from a website at any given time.

User Interactivity

In terms of user interactivity, the complexity depends on what needs to be relayed to the user. For example, if the website gives users directions to a specific location, then an interactive map would help to have. However, if the website has a more complicated purpose, then the interactivity becomes an even larger issue that must be address in design. Overall, user experience and interactivity should encourage users to continue coming back to the website.

Layout

Layout basically means the skeleton of the page, and deals with things like pixel width, alignment, grids, and others. Should all of the pages in the website have the same basic layout, or should it all be different? Aesthetically, we can appreciate it more easily if it is all consistent, but sometimes page layout has to be changed. Consider layout as the foundation and frame of the website design; everything else gets built within its parameters.

Typography

Serif? Sans serif? The types of typefaces and type styles strongly influence the way a website looks and how users interpret it. We should also note that you never want to use Comics Sans. Never, ever use Comic Sans.

Graphics

Graphics are pictures that are on the website. The designer has to decide where it is best to put them if there is also text. However, if graphics are the highlighted feature of any said website, then they have to have precedence over text. Look at Pinterest and compare it to Facebook. Photos take precedence on Pinterest whereas with Facebook, it has much less precedence.

Salary

Now, for the big question: how much do web designers make? According to Salary.com, web designers make between $45,000 to $83,000 a year.

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Stay tuned as we will explore another type of computer programmer next month: web developers.