Tried On Hats, Kept a Couple
I cut my teeth over two years at a mom-and-pop inbound agency, then took a junior marketing role for a federal IT contractor, and finally set out on my own to write sales copy full-time at the start of 2016.
But then something hit me. At all my past jobs, there was always someone I could count on to handle the technical stuff - e.g. Oh, this opt-in form is broken. Guess I’ll send it to the dev team… or I thought I knew how to add a new slide to this jQuery carousel, but I’ve been Googling for over an hour, and this code looks like Cantonese…
That luxury was gone. If I needed help, there was nobody to call. I knew both me and my clients would be better off if I had a solid foundation of tech literacy.
Not just “enough to be dangerous” either. I wanted real functional knowledge.
“I couldn’t possibly write the variety of books I manage to do out of the knowledge I had gained in school alone. I had to keep a program of self-education in process. My library of reference books grew and I found I had to sweat over them in my constant fear that I might misunderstand a point that to someone knowledgeable in the subject would be a ludicrously simple one.” – Isaac Asimov
I think that quote captures what I’m getting at here: If there’s knowledge out there to make your work better, why not go and learn it?
So that’s what I started doing.
I tested the waters with self-study programs like Codecademy and FreeCodeCamp.
I was only just scratching the surface, but I started enjoying code just as much as copy!
I used to think the non-tech people who said they got “hooked” on coding were just saying it to sound smart, but now I totally get it.
That was about a year ago. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to keep my freelance business rolling smoothly while still having the time explore and learn.
The way I see it, I’m growing into an onion. I started as an inbound/SEO guy, added a layer of corporate marketing, zeroed in on direct resonse copy, then started rounding out the technical side.
I’m not a generalist, and I don’t expect to be good at everything. I’m just finding intersections between my interests and client needs, then doing my best to grow accordingly.