From paralegal to front-end developer: Marisa's journey towards a creative career

From paralegal to front-end developer: Marisa's journey towards a creative career

Hey readers, welcome back! WeMakeDevs is back again with the following community highlight, as promised. Are you ready?

Introducing Marisa, a freelance front-end developer who loves design as well as code. She lives with her husband and two cats in coastal Southern California. In her former life, she was an automotive product liability paralegal (say that three times fast) where they represented car companies.

In this blog post, we will learn more about her journey to becoming a freelance frontend developer and what it takes to succeed in this field.

So, shall we start?

Let's begin

How you became interested in front-end development and UI design?

I became interested in front-end development and design when I needed a website for my online retail business. I had asked my husband to make one. He started it, but his work schedule became really busy so I decided to take the initiative and learn how to do it myself. From there, my love of coding and design began.

What do you consider to be the most important skills for a front-end developer, and how have you honed those skills over time?

Soft skills: Patience, determination, and problem-solving sure come in handy when dealing with bugs. Communication, collaboration, time management, and adaptability are another important ones.

Technical skills: HTML5, CSS3, Git, JavaScript, and a JS library/framework are all good FE essentials. I've honed these skills over time through practice!

With soft skills, by consciously trying to improve them; with technical skills, by building projects.

What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced as a front-end developer, and how have you overcome them?

Imposter syndrome has been an issue for me, as it has for so many others. Some areas I've struggled with include being truly confident in my abilities, as well as recognizing that although I don't fit the typical developer "mold," I still belong and play an important part. I can't say I've overcome imposter syndrome - I just take it day by day and do my best.

What technologies are you currently working with, and what do you enjoy most about them?

While I mostly freelance with CMS (WordPress, Shopify), I'm also trying to strengthen my JavaScript and React skills. For design, I use Figma, Adobe XD and Photoshop.

I appreciate their flexibility! I've been using computers for a long time (think: dial-up) and can recall software's limited abilities. Now, with the introduction of AI, it seems a new world has opened up - I'm excited to see where it leads.

"Tech Twitter" is a great place to hear about emerging technologies and trends, whether it be with design, FE, or anything tech-related for that matter. When I first became active, Web3/blockchain just began being discussed. The key is to follow the right people.

Can you walk us through a project that you're particularly proud of, and explain what makes it stand out to you?

It's not the most complex responsive JavaScript project, but definitely an enjoyable one. I love word games and this one is particularly addicting!

Project: The game starts with a word shown, fetched from an API, with circle symbols representing its letters. Players guess the word by entering one letter at a time, which appears on the screen. If the player guesses the word before using up their number of allotted guesses, they win. The game also features a scoring system so the player can try to beat their best streak.

How do you balance the needs and desires of stakeholders (such as clients or users) with your own vision for a project's design and functionality?

When I get a new client, I listen to their requirements and then provide them with appropriate options that will meet their wants and needs. One way to balance their requirements and my own vision is with consistent open communication - keeping them involved in the design process, and running design aspects by them before implementing.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in tech, or looking to make the transition into the industry?

I wrote an in-depth blog post guide based on my experience with just this.

Portfolio and Github,

Don't forget to connect with Marisa on Twitter.

So here comes the end, folks.

In conclusion, Marisa's journey to becoming a freelance front-end developer and UI designer is a testament to the power of determination and hard work. Her passion for coding and design started with the need for a website for her online retail business, and she has since honed her skills through practice and continuous learning. Marisa's advice to newcomers in the industry is to keep practising and to be patient with oneself. Her passion for creating, coupled with her soft skills and technical abilities, make her an excellent example of what it takes to succeed as a front-end developer.

Thank you, Marisa, for sharing your story with us!

Be sure to stay tuned for more exciting community highlights in the near future. Our next edition will feature the stories of individuals who are making a real impact in the tech world, so keep an eye out for it!

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