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Aug 09, 2019 21:32:29

Another kind of imposter syndrome

by @alina | 439 words | 🐣 | 4πŸ’Œ

Alina Sava

Current day streak: 0🐣
Total posts: 4πŸ’Œ
Total words: 1337 (5 pages πŸ“„)

Being a solo maker makes you learn all sort of things. But makes it impossible to explain in 2 words what you do.

Years ago β€” back in the horror days of rounding corners with images β€” it used to be easy to describe what I do. I was a Web Designer, designing in Photoshop, slicing and then coding the html and css.

Now if someone asks about what I do, I have no idea what to say. I usually blurt out a no-good 2 phrase explanation. I don't care much about labelling, and while I identify myself as a maker, that's not enough to explain what I can do.

We have so many names and labels these days, yet I don't fit in any of them. The closest thing I got was Frontend Designer from a well written article on prototypr.io.

There's a quote in that article by Brad Frost:

β€œSomewhere between design β€” a world of personas, pixels, and polish β€”  and engineering β€” a world of logic, loops, and linux β€” lies frontend  design. Frontend design involves creating the HTML, CSS, and  presentational JavaScript code that makes up a user interface.”

That's the closest description of me I ever found. Yes, I do design (including brand design) and think like a designer, but I also nitpick about performance, logic, and reasoning behind every button and every element of my designs. Everything has to make sense and have a logical reason behind it, whether it's typical user behaviour, correcting optical illusions, or good UX.

I do my branding work in Illustrator, but for the last couple of years I've been doing my web work directly in html and css. In part because I'm a huge fan of WYSIWYG but no design software can emulate exactly css, your project will never look the same in a software as it looks rendered in a browser.  And also because for a site I move much faster in scss than a graphic software.

The problem is that's not all I can do. For example working for many years with WordPress I learned its proprietary things, along with a bit of php and jQuery enough to make a few customizations I wanted. But that generates a new kind of imposter syndrome and always leaves me questioning whether I should mention everything I can do. Because knowing a little bit of this and a little bit of that doesn't make me able to work just that. I couldn't work as full Javascript or full PHP, not even as an apprentice.

To be continued (probably πŸ˜„)


  • 1

    @alina I really relate to this. I feel the labels of "developer" or "engineer" are so limiting to me. Sure I write code but that doesn't describe me fully.

    Keenen Charles avatar Keenen Charles | Aug 09, 2019 22:29:38
    • 1

      @keenencharles Indeed, so many possible skills "hide" behind those names

      Alina Sava avatar Alina Sava | Aug 10, 2019 13:03:10
  • 1

    @alina I stopped using titles in most communities I'm in or when I present myself. Instead I say what I do: "I make 200WaD and I write every day". Much simpler, but doesn't fit in a Linkedin description! :P

    Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Aug 10, 2019 05:17:42
    • 1

      @basilesamel You made an awesome product and that makes a good description, even for LinkedIn imho. :)

      I don't usually use titles either, but there are situations when I have to explain myself, and I really wish I had a 2 word name that gives an idea about core skills.

      Alina Sava avatar Alina Sava | Aug 10, 2019 14:05:44
  • 1

    @alina -- so much to learn. So many stories to tell.

    Brian Ball avatar Brian Ball | Aug 09, 2019 14:57:54
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