Me: I will never be a coder because I am terrible at math!
Also me: building websites for fun since 1999 (yeah, I had a GeoCities)
When I was 12, I taught myself HTML & CSS so I could build online Cher shrines. I recall tinkering with my CherGirl website for hours — moving images, playing music upon load, and even adding an animated cursor. In adulthood, I designed websites for companies and personal projects such as nightlife reviews and feminist news. When I discovered the dissonance between “I will never be a coder” and “I build websites for fun,” I applied to the Flatiron School.
Each of the projects I completed in bootcamp were full stack. Hundreds of lines of code later, I’d share my progress with my non-coding partner who would ask, “How will you design it?” This made me think about the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes when all we want to do, for example, is display a question to the user. The back end API of questions needs to be fetched from the front end so we can shuffle and display them randomly using a function and binding methods. Phew! I thought of back end as magic, the design piece as the lipstick. It’s fun and impactful for the user, (depending on the design) it can take a minimal amount of time to apply, but it has very little to do with what is happening within a person (or in this case, within an app).
Upon graduation, my teacher sent out a poll, “Front end, back end, or full stack?” I, like most others, clicked “full stack.” Yet, for the past two months since graduation, I’ve been making decisions that say otherwise:
- I completed a 7 day front end challenge
- I created a portfolio for my partner using just HTML & CSS
- I’m working on the second iteration of my portfolio, using HTML, CSS, and JS
- I find myself choosing to practice various languages by making minimalist front end apps like dic·tion·ar·y, PANTONE through the years, and to do list
There are countless posts in the Twitterverse asking questions like, “Does HTML/CSS even count?” or “(1–10) How much does everyone hate CSS?” to which many people reply, “10!” I’m always super confused by this response. Maybe it is because I learned HTML & CSS at such a young age or maybe, it is because I genuinely enjoy seeing what other people make with them. As someone who makes analog collage, this “art” side of front end is what excites me so much. I’ve seen everything from a pure CSS camera illustration to the Mona Lisa.
I guess what I’m saying is, although I can do full stack development and I like full stack, perhaps I’d like to amend my poll response, at least for the time being, to “front end.” If you ask me, the combination of HTML/CS/ JS is magic.