26 years... And I'm at a roadblock. Help?

I’ve been designing websites since 1994 and have created over 2100 sites.

I’m fluent in HTML, CSS, and bootstrap. I also use Photoshop.

My problem is that I haven’t written much Javascript (typically I use pre-done scripts and modify slightly or they’ve already been there). I don’t know Javascript frameworks like react or angular.

Used to have my own business designing sites for small businesses and non-profit organizations, but a few years ago I transitioned to working for others and my skills were being used but I didn’t get to learn new stuff.

Last job I had, I was creating prototype pages for BAs and Product Owners and then handing them over to the .net and angular devs. No wireframes were created. Why? Because that’s how it was when I started and the devs used my prototype pages as a foundation.

Unfortunately, this meant that I didn’t get to use XD or Axure or Figma - which I wanted to learn but didn’t get a chance to.

I was still doing design in Photoshop (“why doesn’t it look like a web page?” was a popular refrain I heard when I tried doing wireframes years ago) because that’s how I had been designing for a long time.

So now I have a problem with job hunting. I often hear “you’re not a coder” because I don’t know Javascript frameworks, “you’re not a designer” because I don’t know wireframe software, and I hear “You aren’t UX” because I don’t have A/B testing or Sketch experience (and I don’t use a Mac… And I’ve educated lots of recruiters on why I don’t use Sketch because it’s not on Windows)

It’s frustrating. I used to be able to say “I’m a web designer” and then it was “I’m a UI developer” and then when javascript frameworks were pushed under UI development, I then could say “I’m a UI designer”. But it seems like I’m still straddling the job areas.

26 years of html, 23 years in css, bootstrap for 7, Photoshop for 24… And I don’t know what I am. I understand marketing, know typography (worked at Agfa Monotype even), etc…

Any thoughts or suggestions on which way to go?

1 Like

Hi @Chrispopp8, welcome to the forum.

I’m sorry to hear you feel like you are in a swamp, it’s a horrible situation; please don’t forget to reach out to friends and family and remember to take care of your health.

I am not a designer, but a developer, yet I feel like in this case our jobs have a common similarity: you need to constantly keep learning, or the industry will move forward and soon you will left behind.

It’s a bit daunting at times, but I personally like this aspect of the job.
Unfortunately sometimes it’s not enough what you’ll learn at the job: I worked in places where we had allocated time to work on experimental projects/new technologies, and other were the approach were more standard “9 to 5”.

In the latter, the responsibility of keeping myself up to date and marketable were on me, so during weekends, nights and free time I kept reading, coding and studying.

In my opinion you have an advantage: you know exactly the industry and its requirements. You’ve talked with recruiter, so you know what you are “missing”.
Simply work on filling the gap that you think will lead were you wanted to be.

You want to be a dev?
You already know you lack JS -> go on and study JS.

You want to be a designer?
You know they want you to know Sketch (or whatever), then go on and practice with it.

Luckily the end result its on you, you have the power to study to fill the gaps that these people told you were missing.

Good luck :sparkles: