ClemsonGC attends Front End Design Conference

With two seniors from the Clemson Graphic Communications  program, I attended Front End Design Conference & Workshop in St. Petersburg, Florida this week #frontendconf. Not only was it one of the most well developed (pun intended) conference I have ever attended, it also had the perfect mix of inspiration and information. My brain is saturated, but I now know where to head to sort out all the amazing ins and outs of Front End Design.

So what is “Front End Design?” Every job has to have a name describing it, right? In this case, front end becomes the go-to term for website design and development and includes a wide range of related specialties and careers. But before I get in to any of the technical info we absorbed, I want to share what I think emerged as the underlying theme throughout the conference- community.

Arguably some of the best minds in this industry wove the idea of community (and it’s role in the continued growth of everything web) into their presentations. The fact that I might have been in the bottom 10% of experience in that room  never once felt like a stigma. Everyone- from the other  audience members to the speakers themselves- spoke to us as equals and no question was looked at as ridiculous. Heck, my question was even featured on a live broadcast of ShopTalkLive and answered by two of the greats- Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert. Those more experienced in this industry are more than willing to help guide us along the path and show us the way to further explore the puzzle of web development.

One of the most interesting experiences was to hear about how others in the audience had arrived at their (for most, VERY successful) careers. Unlike some industries, you don’t have to know everything going in (actually, I am pretty sure that would be impossible), what you do need is an inquisitive mind and the drive to never stop learning. And when you do figure it out, SHARE it! We are, after all, a community of learners, a community of web designers and developers. This idea aligns perfectly with the movement towards opensource development.

As I sit here at the airport, waiting to fly back to reality, I think over this lack of the “me vs them” mentality. We are not in competition, but in community. There is plenty of work and opportunity to go around, so let’s help each other out. Over the past 5 days, my experience has been broadened, my colleague list has grown, and I know I am a welcome member of the most exciting community- Front End Design and Developers. Now to figure out my place in this vibrant community. How will you add to the development of both community and code?