How Much Coding Should Designers Know?


Written by Irina Papuc Topics: Learn to Code

Many designers think each discipline should mind their own business, while others see no problem in professionals wearing multiple hats. Many developers see designers who code as a threat, while others see it as a facilitator. This is a hotly debated subject, and although I think some great designers are also superb at coding, I will always defend that the more you focus on a particular area the best you will be at it. But this shouldn’t be a reason for you to miss out on the benefits of having another skill under your belt.

Learn to Code

Learn how to code and make yourself a great asset to any multi-disciplinary team.

As a designer who has gone as far to set up Linux servers and program back-end, I see no question that understanding ‘the basics’ of coding would benefit any designer. The question really is, how much coding should designers learn? At what point might designers be wasting their time, or really stepping over the line into the territory of developers?

In order to provide some insight into the potential benefits of learning to code, I’ve broken the different levels of coding knowledge down into degrees of usefulness.

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An Interview with a Successful Developer: Lifestyle, Taxes, and Node.JS


Written by Irina Papuc Topics: Business, Learn to Code, Self Improvement

At Toptal, we’re always looking for the best freelancers around. But what makes a freelancer truly great? Luis Martinho, one of our top developers, is beloved by his clients — so we sat down with him to talk about freelancing, technologies like freelance Node.js and HTML5, and paying your taxes.

So, to start, how did you get into freelancing? Have you ever worked a full-time job?

“I had worked a couple of full-time jobs: some of them were relatively corporate, but the most recent was in a startup environment, specifically in the enterprise SaaS space, building sexy management software in the cloud. We had a very talented team and a very ambitious vision. After four years of growth, we had an exciting product in an exciting space, which was great, but I wasn’t very happy. I needed a lifestyle change. When we started, I personally did not understand how hard it was to “start up”. It’s not just the hours, because you work long hours in all sorts of environments and projects; it’s the stress, the responsibility, and the pains associated with creating something new. It’s not all flowers and rainbows. In the end, I decided that I wasn’t co-founder material (at least, not at the time). But the experience gave me a much deeper understanding of the kind of pressure faced by startup founders, and I know that I’ve become a better freelance software developer because of that.

Freelancing looked more and more like the life I wanted: it presented an opportunity to find interesting clients and projects while being rewarded for quality work.

I started looking for regular jobs: first in my hometown, then in the rest of the country, then in the rest of Europe. I managed to find some interesting projects, some interesting compensation packages, and some interesting locations; but I believed that I could have it all. So I began to look into freelancing. And as I kept looking, freelancing looked more and more like the life I wanted: it presented an opportunity to find interesting clients and projects while being rewarded for quality work.”

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Learn to Code: Toptal’s Quick And Practical JavaScript Cheat Sheet: ES6 And Beyond


Written by Irina Papuc Topics: Learn to Code

JavaScript: What is ES6?

ECMAScript 6 (ES6) is the latest standard specification of JavaScript, the programming language of the Web. Since HTML5 and the birth of Node.js, the runtime that allows us to run JavaScript on the server or desktop, JavaScript has gained a unique momentum. There is a growing adoption rate among enterprises, embracing it into production, and thus its newest features were greatly awaited.

We created this cheat sheet as a list of ES6 features we use everyday. Trying to be comprehensive but concise at the same time, new API methods are left apart. For those who need them, make a quick search by yourself or try to explore the MDN documentation to catch the latest experimental APIs. However, some the most bleeding edge characteristics like async and await from the next specification draft (ES7) are included. This is because of most of us developers are going to use a transpiler like Babel anyway to get advantage of the newest JavaScript.

You can test out some of the mentioned tips by running the node REPL with this command:

node --use-strict $(node --v8-options | grep harm | awk '{print $1}' | xargs) #ES6

Or, use directly a babel-node to get the most of Javascript in your console.

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Learn to Code: Wisdom and Tools for the Journey


Written by Irina Papuc Topics: Learn to Code

Learn to Code

Programming is a great skill to have. It is hugely rewarding on both a personal and professional level, giving you the ability to build and tinker and invent. It can open doors to all kinds of career paths with great benefits, be it a respectable paycheck, freedom to work when and where you want, or all of the above.

It’s no surprise that more and more people, from all kinds of backgrounds, are deciding to learn to code. But, each person who tackles the task is soon faced with an unpleasant reality: Learning to program is hard.

Complicated and confusing, at first, much of coding doesn’t make any damn sense. Contrary to expectations, the feeling of “I don’t get it,” may persist unabated long into the journey, making once bright-eyed beginners feel hopeless, lost, and ready to give up.

The moral of the story is this: Be prepared. The path to programmer paradise and learning to code is a long one, and without the right mindset at the beginning, it can quickly lose its appeal.

In this article, I’ll attempt to give you some guidance on what to expect on your journey, how best to go about it, and what tools and resources you may find helpful along the way.

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Learn to Code: The 20% of Coding Knowledge You Need to Create the Best 80% of Websites & Apps


Written by Jason Nesbitt Topics: Business, Learn to Code, Self Improvement

Hello World!

Welcome to the first piece in what I hope to be a long and prosperous blog series titled ‘Learn to Code’.

I am always amazed by how complicated people make website & app development sound. They often refer to it as a task left for the enlightened Computer Scientists when in fact, it’s something that anybody from any background can do with the tiniest bit of knowledge. I will be using Pareto’s 80/20 rule in all of its glory by teaching you the 20% of coding knowledge that allows you to create the best 80% of a website & app.

What To Expect

The series will include explanations, activities to follow and videos to quickly and efficiently provide you with the only skills you need to create websites that look as good as the professionals.

So, sit back, follow the activities and learn the skill that can provide you with the best possibility to create the life you want. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how many bloggers and website designers have quit their job, retired away to tropical paradise and lived a fulfilled life that one can only dream of whilst sat in an office.

The kind of things you should look forward to learning are:

  • How to Create Your First Bootstrap Website in 1 Minute
  • How to Copy From the Best By Adding Bootstrap/Bootsnipp Examples to Your Website
  • How to Quickly Add a Google Map to Your Website
  • How to Obtain FREE Great Quality Images for Your Website
  • And Much, Much More!

Looking forward to hearing all your feedback and providing you exactly what you want and need.

Speak soon!

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