Embedded System Programmer Struggling with Web Programming

I program microcontrollers for electronic devices in Assembly Language, Basic and C very comfortably for over 10 years at a professional level.

I have failed repeatedly to launch into web development and programming in the past 2 years. I don’t have issues understanding HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I feel I don’t have passion for graphics, layout and colors. This probably caused me not to do anything meaningful in web development for this period.

Please, how can I replicate my success in embedded system in Web development? I don’t mind re-learning from scratch and that is why I am here.


I can relate to what you are saying, Eribog. I have a passion for creating the functionality but I can also feel quite uninspired when it comes to the visual design of elements. Something that has helped me do better in striving towards better visual design is focusing on adding my personality to everything. For instance, I love the color teal. I try to utilize it in most of my projects.

I find that once I start seeing my projects as a reflection of my inner “art”, I strive to make it look good in every way possible. This is just what works for me, and I still have a long way to go. My jaw drops every time I see someone who can pull off stunning designs. But I am getting better, and I hope you find what can inspire your creativity.

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It may be useful to think of it this way. System development is a very private and solo occupation. You work alone a lot. The test for whether or not your system works tends to be objective, technical and quantitative, and does not involve a lot of people directly (unless you screw up the schedule).

On the other hand, visual design (apart from the actual code writing) is a very public occupation. Unless you don’t care about a viewer, the test for whether the project succeeds is qualitative and subjective and, apart from actual functionality, not technical. This is just the opposite of what you’re used to. There is simply no right answer. (BTW, this can be maddening, especially with a domineering boss.)

Therefore, if some acquaintance with visual design is a priority, probably it is important not to work solo but to get your designs in front of people - especially people with some artistic inclinations - as often as possible. This will allow you to get used to the idea that your projects will be scrutinized by lots of people with perhaps very little technical skill. (This could be initially like a soak in ice water.) If at some point you DO NOT get excited about showing your work to others, and about their reactions, then perhaps web design is not the right occupation for you.

I really have no proven advice. Maybe this will work. Take a beginners class in graphic design (not drawing or painting but hard-core graphic design - and not a course for web developers but one for designers.) In the course you will do small projects which will be examined and commented on by the entire group. Besides learning about design, this may get you more enthusiastic about the group aspects of web design. In addition, interacting with a group this way may get you more excited about the public aspects of web design.

Also, look at designs in magazines and catalogs, and try to discuss what you see with others as often as possible. Go up to strangers in coffee shops and ask what they think. Why not? This might charge some batteries.

The previous commenter has a method that works for him. However, I would not recommend this in general. If you have no experience with design, you should look a lot at designs, interact with designers (in a course, for example) and get other people’s reaction. Eventually you may (or may not) develop a style, but don’t force it. Keep it loose and open. At this point you probably have little to offer, so don’t insist on your initial ideas.


The OP is combining 2 realms - web design and web development. You can certainly be a designer AND developer, but if not then you don’t necessarily have to choose that route. Just stick to development, which is what a lot of FCC focuses on anyway.

Couple of things:
(1) Many places of employment will differentiate between development and design. Development = business logic or databases or stuff like that. Design = page layout or possibly even a specialized user interface design department. Search for jobs that have that demarcation, and don’t choose design when you apply!

(2) Failing that, you can also possibly get by learning a framework that encompasses some pretty design elements. The simplest entry point for that is Bootstrap, which you can learn the basics of on a Saturday afternoon. Bootstrap will let you make some nice looking, minimalist sites without grinding your teeth on figuring out color combinations or pixel alignments.

I applaud you for maintaining a job that uses assembly of any form. One of my worst life experiences was a class that taught Sparc assembly.

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Thanks All.

I do appreciate the wonderful advice and suggestions. There is no going back this time around.
I just need to intensify my effort and be consistent. Hanging around great minds will surely help too, like your contributions thus far.

More contributions are welcomed.