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Stephen Belovarich
Stephen Belovarich

Posted on • Updated on

I am an artist who became a software architect, Ask Me Anything!

In college I majored in an interdisciplinary degree that combined technology and art. Eventually I got a MFA at Syracuse. Web development was something that I considered a hobby back in the late 90s. The demand for web development kept following me in the 00s and eventually I put down my camera and picked up coding again. Fast forward a decade I found myself teaching at General Assembly, architecting UI for Symantec and working on enterprise applications for Nike and NBCUniversal.

I had to start all over again at one point, learning web development from scratch. Are you starting out in a similar way, transitioning from art to web development?


Top comments (4)

andy profile image
Andy Zhao (he/him)

What are some parallels or similar patterns that you find in your process as an artist vs a coder?

steveblue profile image
Stephen Belovarich • Edited

Three words. Creative problem solving.

Artists are often said to be abstract thinkers and their thought process is lost on engineers. I see it completely differently though. Art is about innovation, putting pieces together that don’t usually fit to display some new idea in a tangible piece of artwork.

Engineering by definition is the application of science and design to innovate or build something. Essentially both artists and engineers are solving problems to produce something tangible.

Engineers can get stuck in established modes of operation just as much the artist who produces artwork with a stale medium or the writer who is blocked. Both can become referential, losing the edge one should have to be innovative.

TBH I think with all the emphasis on STEM we forget that Art, Fashion, Design drives a lot of innovation. We lost the A and without it with lost some of the STEAM in our everyday process.

ashwinv11 profile image
Ashwin Vaswani

As another artist turned developer this really hits home. People need to rethink the importance of STEAM. I've found most artist turned engineers find solutions to the problem and have a drive unlike others. That being said most like most artists, they're never satisfied with the work they're producing no matter how good or bad!

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steveblue profile image
Stephen Belovarich • Edited

Anyone can be a perfectionist and even people with comp sci degrees can have an amazing drive.

There are times when people with a comp sci background have preconceived notions about artists turned engineers. The best way I’ve found to combat these notions is to immerse yourself in performant algorithms and best practices for performance. Learn Big O back to front, scrutinize your code before your push it to ensure it is performant. There are engineers who think it’s a good idea to code MVP, make it performant later. Make the code performant now instead and it will diffuse the preconceived notions you the “artist” doesn’t know what you are doing.