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Summer Review & Plans for Fall

August has now reared it's ugly head, which means end of summer is near and time to prepare for a full class schedule once again. For this first of the August posts, I thought I would review some site stats from the summer and talk about the plans for Fall productivity.

Since May 1st, which around when I finally went live with the new site, I have had 216 visits to HipsterBrown.com; of that number, I have had 116 unique visitors and 610 page views. For a blogging newbie and student, an average of 6 page views a day is a nice success. My hope is to iterate on some of the design and improve some of the content in order to increase that average during the coming months. I may even end up rebuilding the blog with a different platform, depending on the progress of Ghost (yet another Kickstarter project I backed this summer).

As far as summer productivity is concerned, I vastly improved upon some of my design abilities including illustration and interface creation in Sketch. Before, I considered myself a simple layout and UI designer but now I'm more confident in my ability to create simple illustration and product mockups in my favorite graphic editor. I finished the HTML/CSS portion of my current personal web app project with hopes to complete the dev work this month, which leads to the primary reason for this post.

The original title to this article was "Dev-dication" but that was trying a bit hard for a catchy, albeit accurate, post title. After all the design work and improvement I made this past summer, I have gotten out of touch with my front-end experience and the ability to build the products I'm designing. So starting in this month, I am dedicating the majority of my work time towards improving my development skills, especially with rapid prototyping and pure Javascript. I already have a few ideas lined up for accomplishing this goal.

My design work will not be halted because I still have several plans in the area, but it will be the treat for after my dev work is done. I know the basics of JavaScript development, i.e. syntax, events, and DOM manipulation, but I have yet to move past the title of beginner due to my lack of practical experience. All the Codecademy, Treehouse, and Code School course won't mean jack until I finally put it to good use in the real world wide web. I plan to take the path of JavaScriptIsSexy article How to Learn JavaScript Properly and start out by building a simple quiz web app. This will improve upon my code organization, DOM manipulation, and form validation abilities right away, and it's a project that can be updated by using an MVC framework like Backbone or Ember and a templating engine like Underscore or Handlebars. It is certainly a step in the right direction towards proper dev improvement.

As a student with 9 months left to build up a proper portfolio and obtain full-time employment before being released into the real world, I feel underprepared but ready for what comes next. There is a lot of opportunity out there, as my constant trolling of the various job boards suggests, but it's hard to anticipate how I am reflected with my current collection of personal projects. While currently classifying myself as a UI/UX/Product designer with some front-end experience is swell for the current job market, being able to confidently call myself a Designer and Front-End Developer creates a whole new realm of flexibility in my job search.

I hope to share some awesome projects in the next few months, both in design and development, and turn a few more heads towards the site. It all leads towards future improvement and a career in this great industry I have come to know the past few years. I cannot wait to look back at this post in a few months and smile proudly at the work I've done.