CompTIA/IT Tech Jobs

tl;dr Does anyone have experience with CompTIA (or similar) certifications, and IT or SysAdmin roles? I’m interested to learn about the process and what the work is like.

I’ve been studying on fCC and other FOSS learning platforms for around two months now, and so far have completed the Responsive Web Design certification. What I’ve picked up on in this time, at least in my opinion, is that web development is more than just coding. It’s a very creative, I’d even say artistic, field. I wouldn’t consider myself a creative.

Every day I look at codepens from web developers, and I’m blown away by what they accomplish. I’m still in that purgatory where I know the best way to progress is practice, but that deliberate practice is just out of my reach because I don’t quite have all the foundational knowledge to “build a project”.

This process has been humbling, and I’ve learned that learning takes time. Some of us have more time than others, and this has led me to the question of what I could do (for work) while I continue my studies. I.T. sounds, at least concordantly, like a relevant field that might offer applicable experience and could potentially (not to undermine the profession) be quicker to pick up on. If anyone is willing to share their experiences, that would be great, thanks!

You are looking at the output of very small number of people employing web tech to artistic/artistic-adjacent ends, and making a logical jump to that being what programming for the web is. It’s essentially confirmation bias: you have in front of you examples of programming being used for artistic reasons and you’re inferring that’s what programming normally is.

Pretty, artistic pens are popular because they are pretty and artistic. The overwhelming majority of frontend web programming is not artistic. You might say programming is creative: it is [often] literally an act of creation. But people are not normally employed as programmers because of artistic skills.


TY for commenting! Can you share some examples?

Not really – it’s the vast, overwhelming majority of programming, so literally almost anything you might be doing day-to-day.

With, say, CodePen, with pens that are popular, developers are posting experiments for a personal challenge, or things they find interesting, or for fun, or for internet points, &c.

The things they are doing day-to-day, they either

  1. aren’t going to post (eg “I’ve written a function that wraps fetch to add some specific HTTP headers to every request I make to some API” is both deeply uninteresting and not something you’d put online), or
  2. if they use CodePen to experiment then their experiments will be amongst the hundreds of thousands of pens that have no likes because they’re just quick throwaway experiments that aren’t at all interesting (eg “I need to check whether this setup for radio buttons in a form I’m writing will work properly”).

Hi! I am a beginner and I am starting my own first little project. I did some preparation and came up with this post. If you will look at my plan, you will see that there are objectives which will require from me not to do artistic stuff, but to organize some logic

I am in JS section of curriculum right now, when you will start it you will have a better understanding about ‘more typical programming’ I think.

Thank you @admit8490 ! I’m currently working through the Intermediate Algorithm Scripting section of the Basic JavaScript curriculum.

I’ve been independently looking at resources other than codepen to try to understand what you mean, (frontendmentor, javascript30) but I’m still only able to find visual, interactive, well designed UI/UX projects. They’re beautiful and highly creative, like the codepens. I’ll take your word for it, though.

If you want to see pure code go to GitHub and look at all the library code.

The people that make it pretty and the people that make it run are often not the same. Sure if it’s a one-person show then you have to do it all, but for most real projects with a team you don’t have the backend guys create the look of the site (for a good reason). Even if it was coded by one person they might not have made the design, or the design is heavily inspired.

You can write code without ever touching the look of anything.

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TY for commenting! Can you share some examples?

An example of what, a library? I mean there is tons of code out there. Pick any lib you have used, go to the repo, and start to read the source code. It’s just pure code, no frontend.

It isn’t really something I would suggest doing at this point in time. Or at least, it will be very overwhelming and maybe not a great use of your time right now.

You can code plenty of things that do “stuff” without it having a frontend.

Haha no, not a library! An example of something a person can code, maybe even something you’ve coded, that didn’t require a creative UI or website I suppose. I already watch 235 repositories on my Github profile—I don’t know if it’s my intellect, or just where I am in the curriculum, but reading source code is akin to reading Sanskrit—definitely not a great use of my time, like you said.

If one needs a portfolio to show, and that individual is the sole proprietor, then by your logic it’s necessary for them to create everything, including the UI—inexorably leading to a necessary level of creative design. Considering the most common advice given to beginners learning to code is to practice and build projects, I was hoping to find projects that didn’t require such a level of creative design. You assured me they exist, but I’m having trouble finding them. I don’t think I could code a whole library, and I don’t want to have my projects ‘heavily influenced’ by other designs, I want to be able to show them off.

I think you are conflating web design with web development, or just development.

  • Build a library that can take in some data and give something back. It can be something simple like converting data (currency for example). If you did want a frontend all it would be is input and output.

  • Build a chess app you can play against. The layout is super simple but the code is not. The time you spend on the look will be negligible compared to the time it will take to code. Obviously, just an example. Pick something easier which still has a simple board or layout, like tic tac toe.

  • Build a backend API that serves data at some endpoints. By definition, there will be no frontend code.

Thank you so much @lasjorg ! I’ll work on implementing my first Tic-Tac-Toe AI!

I’m not sure what else you’re looking at,

But if it’s anything along the lines of “best websites”, then, again, what you are looking at are what people have submitted as examples of beautiful, artistically designed websites. It sounds like you’re looking at design galleries.

People put interesting stuff online, for the reasons I outlined. Those that are kinda examples of complete projects are a tiny, tiny percentage of what is made. But it’s also the only stuff that is particularly interesting to an audience. It is also important to note that compete sites/apps on design galleries (AWWWARDS et al) tend to ignore a multitude of real-world concerns, and are often created and submitted by agencies as a PR tool.

The core, critical thing I think you’re missing though is that the job of someone programming or writing CSS for the front end is that they are implementing designs. It’s a mechanical, technical, logical process. Design, be it UX or UI: that isn’t programming (and design is, also on the whole a technical process that follows rules, it is not free creative art process). It is very unusual to have programmers who are designers.

I would also like to point out that there are very well-known and highly used sites that don’t have anything special going on design-wise. Just look at Google and their products, not exactly riveting design.

You can do form over function, or function over form. Or you can try to strike a happy medium.

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I was looking on frontendmentor, javascript30, etc. I guess I’m conflating implementing a visual design with creating a visual design. Either way, not something I’m particularly versed in (yet) :frowning:

Are we debating the necessity of a visual design, or the level of its creativeness?

In my case, I was hired without a portfolio.
There was a job opening at a company I was interested in and hadn’t created my portfolio site yet.
They said that was fine because they had access to my github profile which had links to all of my top projects.

Portfolios are definitely helpful but you can land a job without one if your have a strong github profile with links to your project.

Most developers I know, including myself, are not that great at design.
We air on the side of simple and clean because that is where our skillset is.
We also use tools like tailwind or bootstrap because it makes our lives easier when creating projects.

For example, here are two projects I showed to my current employer when applying

There is nothing crazy about the design.
And I used tailwind to help me out.

But my employer didn’t talk anything about the design because they focused more on the choices I made in the code.
He asked questions like “Explain to me why you structured your code in this manner”
Or “What other features are you planning to add to this app?”

As a developer, you are not going to be spending your day creating the designs.

At my job, the designers create the designs, the design is approved and then I will take the figma mockup and implement that in HTML and CSS.

All of the designs I have encountered so far are not as elaborate as a lot of the ones you see on codepen or dribble.

But implementing designs into HTML and CSS is a really small portion of my job.

Most of my time spent is on working on bug fixes or assisting with new features for the app.

Right now, the team I am working on just launched a new app and users are working with it for the first time.
We have all been working on fixing issues brought up by users.

A lot of this has to deal with issues around authentication or special use cases we hadn’t considered before.

Hopefully that gives you insight on what developers do! :smile:

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Everyone’s participation has been greatly appreciated. I must say thank you to @DanCouper and @lasjorg for enlightening me on my conflated confirmation biases. The addition of @jwilkins.oboe was a warm sight, and thank you for filling the logical gaps in the other participants “examples”.

Now fellow campers, if we could steer the ship back to the topic of its intention.

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I’d say both.

You can implement something super simple that still does what it does well and people will like to use it. Or you can implement something super extravagant and fancy looking but horrible to use. The UX is part of the design and if the design is just about the “bling” it will fail to be usable and no one will care how good it looks. There is a saying “lipstick on a pig”.

As said, some code doesn’t need a design because it has no frontend at all to interact with, only APIs people use to interact with. You do not need a frontend to demonstrate coding skills.

Edit: It’s also subjective. I remember when the Remix site first came out, half the people loved the design (it is pretty cool) and the other half found it annoying and just wanted the docs and a simple quick run down of the what and why.

Personally, I found it a bit distracting and not as to the point as I would have liked it to be. But it is a nicely designed page never the less.