Today’s interview in the Developer Spotlight series focuses on Heidi Pungartnik from ThemeBro. She has just created a great tool for browsing WordPress themes, and I asked her a couple questions about her career as a developer. Here’s what she had to say!
1) When did you start to take an interest in web development?
I was 10 when I learned HTML. It was a friend of mine who got me interested in code and I remember spending hours writing my first index.html’s. At the time, tables were still used to create layouts.
I (unfortunately) still remember how my first website looked like — it had had a turquoise background and the main font was Comic Sans. It was just awful.
2) What tools did you use to learn the tricks of the trade and improve your skills?
In the beginning, I mostly used books and Lynda.com. Admittedly, I spent a lot of time just following tutorials, which of course is not what programming is about.
Once you get a hold of the basics, the best way of learning programming is to dive in and just do it, like I did with ThemeBro. I can’t emphasize enough how important it was for me to have a project that I couldn’t just give up on.
3) What’s your favorite text editor, and why?
Now that I’m on Mac, I use Sublime, but I miss some of the Notepad++’s features.
4) How do you plan the designs of your sites?
I used to play around with a number of wireframing tools, from Balsamiq to Adobe Illustrator, but nothing works as well as dot-gridded paper and a black marker. Especially when communicating your ideas to other people (whether it be a client or a co-founder), it can be hard for non-techy people to understand that a digitally-produced wireframe is not the final interface. With hand-drawn sketches, there is no space for such errors and it’s easy to divert attention to what really matters — the idea.
5) What hangups do you encounter on projects that hold you back?
These days, I mostly work on my own projects. The hardest part is still marketing and promotion and that’s what I hear from other founders as well. Building something is hard enough, but getting people to find it and use it is another thing. But that’s what makes it fun 🙂
6) What are your future web development goals?
Right now, I’m trying to build a simple personal website to list my projects on. To tell you the truth, this is tougher than building ThemeBro, even though it’s technically a lot less complicated. For this site, I decided to use Jekyll (for the first time ever) so at least I’m learning something along the way.
Searching for WordPress themes is a hassle. Categories on marketplaces and lists of themes don’t really help, and you’re quickly stuck on a hours-long hunt every time you’re looking for a theme.
That’s why I decided to build ThemeBro. Entrepreneurs and developers love it as it saves time and lists only the best-quality stuff that’s on the market. Try it out!
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Thanks for the interview, Heidi!