Hyphen Coding | Web & WordPress Developer
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How I got started in web development

From Pesticides to Pixels: My Unexpected Journey to Web Development

Let’s be honest, not many career paths lead from agrochemical sales to custom WordPress themes. But hey, that’s the beauty of life, right? It can take some pretty surprising turns. In my case, those turns involved a backpacking trip, a travel blog, and a global pandemic – all of which unexpectedly propelled me into the exciting world of web development.

My story starts with a degree in biochemistry and a career selling… pesticides. Not exactly the most glamorous field, but it paid the bills. However, the travel bug bit me hard, and together with my partner, we embarked on a life-changing adventure – a six-month backpacking trip through Southeast Asia.

It was during this incredible journey that our little travel blog was born.  My partner is an excellent writer, and took to photography far quicker than I did. So where did that leave me? I was left in charge of the website.

A learning curve would be putting it politely. Let’s just say my initial attempts at website design weren’t exactly award-winning. This is where my crash course in WordPress, themes, plugins, SEO, and the general frustrations of building a website with no experience began.

We spent countless hours on those travels, hunched over laptops in charming guesthouses and bustling cafes.  While the website may have gone through several questionable iterations, the experience ignited a passion in me. We loved the freedom, the creativity, and the satisfaction that came from building something together.

As the trip neared its end, we started exploring the idea of remote work. This was pre-pandemic, so the concept wasn’t quite as mainstream back then. My partner, with their writing and editing skills, could easily transition into freelancing. But me?  Selling pesticides online didn’t seem like a viable option (thankfully!).

So, it was time for some soul-searching.  Sales wasn’t for me, and the website tinkering I’d done had sparked a genuine interest.  Plus, who wouldn’t want to be their own boss and work on something they were passionate about?

Just as we were making plans, the world hit the pause button with the pandemic. While it cut our travels short and sent us back to the UK, it also provided a (slightly unexpected) silver lining: a huge chunk of time.  Time I could dedicate to learning the intricacies of web development (and, as a necessity, some online English teaching to keep the bills paid).

Textbooks, YouTube tutorials, Udemy courses (both free and paid), a couple of bootcamps, and diving headfirst into design and development social media – I threw myself into this new world.  I started with the fundamental building blocks – HTML, CSS, and JavaScript – before diving deeper into the world of WordPress and its inner workings, PHP.

That was when I discovered true WordPress development. Not just slapping together themes and plugins, but actually building bespoke, custom-coded themes from scratch. That’s when I knew I’d found my niche in the freelancing world.

Having gone through the trials and tribulations of trying to navigate WordPress as a novice, I knew that I could build websites that were easy to use and looked great! After all, WordPress is an excellent place to build a website. But it can be quite intimidating to the uninitiated.

And so, Hyphen Coding was born, specializing in crafting unique, custom-coded WordPress themes to bring my client’s visions to life.  The journey of a self-taught developer is a constant learning process, and I’m always on the lookout for new technologies and advancements, both within and beyond the WordPress ecosystem.

So, there you have it – the not-so-straightforward path that led me from biochemistry to web development.  If you’re considering your own freelance adventure, or maybe just curious about the world of coding, feel free to reach out and chat!  I’m always happy to share my experiences (and maybe a few war stories from the early days of my website design adventures).

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