Six months down and I feel I've crossed some sort of threshold. All of my developer friends were quick to tell me that the first six months would be the worst (in fact one said, "absolutely horrible"). So, I set a milestone to make it to this point back when I first started my job.
Were the first six months that bad? No, but it sure feels a hell of a lot better to be past them.
Somewhere around month four into my job, things shifted subtly. I begin to work on some larger projects and solve bigger problems. I got to pull in my UX and UI background to do some cool shit. I started a pattern of working the whole chain–discovery, UX analysis, wireframing, UI designs, coding the front end, coding the back-end, testing my code and iterating.
I really enjoyed and am proud of my three most recent projects.
The first fun thing I took a stab at was evaluating our current onboarding experience and how we could make it better. I like the format of Samuel Hulick's teardowns, so I created a similar walkthrough to show our CEO, marketing, and customer relation leads. I used my UX knowledge to distill a story and take a step back to evaluate our entire customer journey. This produced several more goals and projects, chief of which was creating a dashboard within our software. I started with some notes and paper sketches, then went into Sketch to wireframe some ideas.
The Dashboard was officially added to our company roadmap and we began interviewing customers to figure out what tasks would most help them run their businesses on our platform. My first pass at a high-fidelity design for the MVP was this, which wound up not being far from the finished product.
This was particularly rewarding because I started with an idea to build this, interviewed customers, wireframed, designed, coded the front end, coded the business logic on the back end, and (maybe most importantly) launched on time. The UI will evolve as I update other areas of the software and the panels will grow and change with our users, but it was exciting to extract data and calculate the percentage completion of an order in real time based on where the panel of PCBs is in the manufacturing process.
Fast forward to now, I am working on our RMA system, how we can automate processes and make a better customer experience. I've already begun to layout a plan and am excited to design and develop this project too.
Side note, I had lunch today with a few developer friends and one asked given that I came from design, if I now have moments of realizing, "Fuck, that is going to be so much work to code."
The answer is yes. 100%. 💯