Martynas Bardauskas

Martynas Bardauskas

Leaving architecture and becoming a web developer

Two years ago (8th of November to be exact) was my last day as an architect. Fortunately and coincidentally, the next day I started working as a web developer. Here’s my story.

From the beginning

I was always fascinated by technology, computers and web. Especially web. I’ve been playing around with MS Frontpage, Dreamweaver (I know I know, bare with me) and Flash since I got an internet connection.That was around 14 years ago. I remember I sold my first flash website 12 years ago being a teenager. Everything I knew I’ve learned from the web or by trial and error.

Regardless of the enormous interest I had for the web technology, I’ve decided to study architecture. Architecture seemed interesting and even luxurious occupation. It seemed at the time that if I study computer science I might get really bored staring at the computer screen all day for the rest of my life once I start working. So I took drawing classes last year I was in school and I’ve become architecture student within a year.

Being a student was great. Mostly because being any student is usually great. The lectures were more or less interesting, though I found myself way more interested in rendering and CAD programs than anything else. That gave me some advantage, but took off some as well. Anyway, I continued making small websites for extra money throughout the study years.

Then I’ve started working as an architect. Officially, on paper, I was an architect, though it felt like I was a mere draftsman. Unfortunately, it was far from what I expected. At least I got enormously skilled at autocad and rendering applications (compared to others I knew, of course).

A year passed by and I got really bored. And, surprise surprise, I was staring at the computer screen all day long which I’ve tried to avoid by studying architecture in the first place. There were more reasons to quit, so I did.

For the next few months I was working in a friend’s startup company until I prepare my “ultimate” architecture portfolio and get another job as an architect. That didn’t happen so fast, plus I was having so much fun writing code. Mainly I was writing HTML and CSS for one project, with few additional tasks and responsibilities for other projects. It was a great experience for me and the company seemed to be happy with my work.

No matter how well that went, I’ve got a call from a well known architect and got back to architecture within a week. I’ve noticed my drop in motivation, overall happiness and free time. I continued working mainly because:

  1. I didn’t want to be a quitter. Rotation is really high in that company, I remember one girl quit after few hours of work. It was a bit of a challenge for me.
  2. The name was well known and I thought that it would look great on my resume. Somehow I don’t feel that way anymore.
  3. I was continuesly encouraged by my family and friends to become a great architect by learning everything I can from that architect.
    After 3-4 months I re-evalueated my position to find that con list is way longer than the pro list. What an eye opener it was. That’s the time when I decided to quit, but I had to work full month after that due to contract details. I was feeling dreadful. My plan was to be unemployed until I find a better job, so you can imagine how bad it was. Fortunately, that turned out better than expected. Counting my last days there I’ve got a call from IT company who was looking for help with HTML/CSS.

Leaving architecture behind to become a full time web developer

So a year and a half passed by after graduating architecture. That’s when I’ve started on my path to become a web developer.

After leaving my job as an architect, a company hired me to do a relatively small PSD2HTML task over the weekend. I did and I was pretty happy with the results. It seems that they were too and I’ve got a request to do another task the same day. Things escalated pretty quickly from there. After delivering the second one, I was offered a bigger task of at least few weeks and invited to the office to discuss things. I remember I didn’t even have a CV with me. The talk was a little amusing to me since they were suprised that I’m simply an architect while they were expecting a system architect somehow. Howerer, that seems to be irrelevant. Few months later I was booked 3 months in advance and was offered a position in the company.

I took the position and moved to Vilnius, it was a great opportunity since I wanted to move there anyway. The company had at least few months of work for me only on HTML and CSS - the skills I was initially hired for, but I was interested in learning and doing much more. Thus, due to my interest and the excessive amount of work my colleagues had, I had got more work with Javascript and PHP. Naturally, I was “handheld” for my first projects all the way through by one of the colleagues, for which I will always be grateful to him since he tought me a lot. But with each new project I had more freedom and more confidence to tackle them.

Before starting there I felt somewhat confident about my skills on Javascript and PHP, since they seemed to be enough to do most of what I need. But I get the same feeling pretty often since then - there’s always more to learn. A year and a half in such environment was very productive. Now, our all PHP team is getting ready for Zend PHP certification to strengthen and test our knowledge. I will post about our experience.

Plans for the future

A lot has changed since I started working as a web developer and I have a strong feeling that I’m on the right path. I cannot be sure whether I’ll stay on it for the rest of my life since I had a huge leap from architecture, but technology is definitely going to be a big part of what I do.

For the near future I plan to catch up and get better on programming in general by reading books like Code Complete, Clean code, etc., and strenghtening my knowledge in single page applications both in front-end and back-end.

In the further future I would like to get my hands on Java, particularly Android applications. Also Nodejs applications and WebGL - maybe I’ll find something useful from what I already know by using rendering applications.