Ask Craig what his current job is and he’ll tell you that it’s really hard to explain to people. Ask him to explain it and you’ll realize that it’s really hard to understand as well. What I took from his description is that he goes into companies and does the management work that doesn’t really deal with their line of work. He described it as “basically the work no one else wants to do”.
However, outside of his regular 9-5, Craig is a web developer. He does freelance work in his spare time partly to make a little extra cash on the side, but mostly because he just loves doing it. He started designing and building websites professionally about 3 years ago. Although he recently just graduated with a degree in web design, he said that most of what he uses in designing and developing his websites, he learned on his own. The technologies used in web development change so frequently that in school, he was learning technologies that were sometimes three years old. This is one of the main reasons that he doesn’t credit much of his applicable web development knowledge to his formal education.
Because I have an interest in web development, but know very little, I spent a good deal of time just asking Craig specific questions about web development. I’m not going to get too much into specifics here, but Craig said that lately he has been transitioning into using Ruby a lot so that’s something that I will definitely be looking more into. He was also able to clear up some confusions I had about particular html syntax and even recommend Twitter Bootstrap to help with designing the look and feel of the site with more ease.
I asked Craig what it is exactly that he likes about web design. He told me that he has always had an appreciation for art and he likes to be creative. However, he likes to be dynamic about things as well. When you draw or paint, there is always a finished product. You don’t go back a year after the painting has been on display and paint over parts of it and make changes. Even if you do this, there is a limit before the layers of paint get too thick. But with web development, you can go back and change huge pieces of the artwork and the paint never layers on. Also, the industry is always evolving so you’re constantly learning new technologies and piggybacking on other developers’ work to create the best possible website.
There were a couple changing points in Craig’s. Craig mentioned that these were not monumental, life changing events, but they still definitely had an effect on his life going forward. One of the biggest changing points was when he made a website for his ex-girlfriend, who was a freelance makeup artist. At this point, he had done some professional gigs, but didn’t feel extremely confident about it. However, the site started getting a lot of compliments. Since there were a lot of mutual friends, he heard these compliments directly. This is when he came to a realization that he was actually a pretty good web designer and it gave him a huge boost of confidence going forward.
Craig grew up in a Catholic family and went to Catholic schools until college. He told me that through this schooling, he learned a little too much about Christianity, just enough to realize that it doesn’t seem like a very feasible reality. Coming out of that schooling, Craig considers himself non-religious and leaning towards atheism. However, unlike most atheists that I’ve met, Craig has always told himself that he will send his kids to Catholic school growing up. He said that Catholic schools taught him a lot of very important morals and eventually lead to him questioning and then defining his own religious beliefs. Also, he feels that he got a much better education at a Catholic school than he would have got had he went to public schools. Giving the kids a good education and teaching them morals doesn’t sound like too bad a deal. In the end, it’s ultimately the kids’ decisions whether or not they want to be Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, Atheist, etc.
Craig also mentioned that he judges people on the individual basis and not as a group. It’s ignorant to generalize an entire group of people and judge them accordingly. I think his exact motto was “If you’re an asshole, you’re an asshole”. You can be an asshole as a christian, as an atheist, as a girl, as a boy, as a heterosexual, as a homosexual, as a black, or as a white. But, you can’t generalize the whole group. Craig treats everyone with respect and kindness until they prove they don’t deserve it on an individual basis.