3 Years Freelancing and Goals for 2014
This year marks the third of my freelancing as a Front End Developer. I've been part of many exciting projects over those years, working for great clients and alongside some very talented people.
In the first year, I wrote about my experiences in a series of blog posts called "Going Freelance". This wasn't a series I intentionally ended but I just got so busy with client projects that it went on the back burner. With this post, I intend to restart the "Going Freelance" series with a look back on the last three years and then detail my goals for 2014.
3 Years in Review
The last 3 years have flown by but having recently re-read my original "Going Freelance" posts, certainly a lot has changed in that amount of time.
Better Understanding my Strengths
In those first posts I was obviously apprehensive and trying to find my feet in the web industry. I now feel I know exactly how to make the most of a day, how I can benefit clients the most, and how to interact with them in an effective way that produces the best outcome for a project. I've tightened up the services I offer, initially offering a full package of web design, development and marketing, but now only specialising in front end development. By concentrating on one service, I can be of a greater asset to a project whilst still having the experience of other areas to advise clients and communicate with co-workers at all stages of a process.
We have the fortune of working with Ian on a very regular basis. Every single project is done in a timely fashion and is delivered exactly as is outlined. Beyond that, his development skills and expertise make him an invaluable part of our process. We absolutely offer our highest possible recommendation.
Douglas Berger, REMIXED
Embracing the Latest Technologies
The web has changed quite a lot over the last three years too. When I first started freelancing, HTML5, CSS3 and methodologies such as responsive design and mobile-first were emerging as the next step forward, although legacy browsers were holding them back somewhat. I now make full use of these technologies and techniques in all of my work. Today, browsers are doing a great job of conforming to standards. The time once spent writing fallback code for legacy browsers can now be used to improve the performance of an experience in modern browsers. Web Developer Tools, SASS, Grunt.js and many other tools have greatly enhanced both my workflow and the websites I produce.
My latest work, the new REMIXED website was a culmination of my 6 years web development experience and many of these tools.
Writing a Technical Book
In 2012, I wrote CSS3 Foundations, a part of the Treehouse book series published by Wiley. CSS3 Foundations has had a great reception with a review score of 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon.com (December 2013).
Popular Open Source Projects
I've been able to contribute to the web community with open source projects, made available via GitHub. These projects, in particular jQuery Parallax and Sequence.js have been used on many websites, including:
- The White House (Parallax effect)
- Castle Lite (Sequence.js powering page transitions)
- Cyber-Duck (Sequence.js powering front page slider)
Goals for 2014
With three great years behind me, I'm looking forward to the next three. 2017 seems a little too far away at the moment though so here's what I aim to achieve in 2014.
Take on Unique and Cutting Edge Projects
I aim to take on more projects that see me using responsive, mobile-first design and then enhancing these foundations with the latest browser technologies to create never seen before experiences that perform smoothly on a wide variety of devices.
The type of clients I like to work with come to me with a unique vision for a project but understand usability is just as important as aesthetics. My job is to make the two meet, working to achieve both the client's goals in commissioning a website and the goals of the users visiting it.
I'd especially like to take on projects that aim to make a difference in the world. Whether this be achieved by technology, education, social movement, and so on, I'd love to hear what you have planned.
Launch (and Maintain) a New Portfolio and Blog Website
If you're reading this, then you're already on my brand new portfolio website, launched in December 2013. Although I launched the site prior to 2014, launching is just the start. Aside from a long list of many more additions, I also plan to get back into blogging, restarting the "Going Freelance" series of posts (maybe with a new name as I've now well and truly gone freelance), as well as creating more tutorials to share my experience with the web community.
Contribute to an Open Source Future
My previous personal projects have been incredibly important for increasing my exposure and giving me the opportunity to experiment with cutting edge technologies.
I already have a handful of personal projects in the works that I'll hopefully be able to share with the open source community in 2014. Keep an eye on my GitHub profile for the latest goodies!
The last three years have gone incredibly quick yet at the same time, I've learnt so much, not just keeping up with the latest web technology but learning how to best communicate with clients too.
I'm still amazed to be able to work with people over the world on a wide variety of projects, all whilst sitting at my desk. To be a contributing component to the technology that enables this is truly satisfying.
I'm excited for next year, both for personal projects (my blog and open-source contributions) and taking on challenging projects.