Road to Code: It started out with a kiss, how did it end up like this?

I began studying design on a whim – my longterm boyfriend and I had broken up, I was living interstate, and I had nowhere to go but back home. I moved in with my family, lacking direction and motivation, and my mother pushed me to study something… anything.

Settling on design, I began studying at Shillington and fell in love. I’d never felt more motivated or passionate toward anything in my life. If I couldn’t play Call of Duty for a living, becoming a designer was the next best thing (FYI, I’m still working on that CoD career).

A few months into my year-long course at Shillington, I began picking up some freelance work. This snowballed, and to this day (six years later) I’m still operating as a freelancer, and I wouldn’t change that freedom for the world.


After completing my course at Shillington, beaming with confidence and passion, I went on to study a Bachelor of Communication Design at Swinburne. I quickly fell into a design rut and I couldn’t find my way out – their curriculum was outdated and their teachers lacked passion… I sat in each lecture thinking ‘if they don’t care about this industry, why should I?’.

When I graduated, I tried to find something I could study that would be complimented by my design background, but the idea of spending another three years studying wasn’t financially viable, and I wasn’t sure I had the motivation to put myself through it again. But, one fateful day, I received yet another email from Shillington about a week-long web course they’d just started running. I felt like Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail.

And so, I packed my bags and on I went, back to trusty Shillington, where I met John and John – two incredibly talented and passionate teachers who helped me find my feet once again.

Within five days, the Johns had taught me to code a website from scratch using HTML and CSS. Outside of my MySpace page, I’d had very little exposure to web development, so having the ability to code a static site with only a week’s training was something I was incredibly proud of.

At the end of the course, one of the Johns pulled me aside and told me that I had a great eye for development and that I seemed to pick things up very quickly. He could see that development just clicked in my mind. And as someone who has always needed reassurance, that sort of feedback was incredibly important for me to hear.


But, despite that, once I left, I did little with development. I was too scared to take on larger projects working with a CMS, so I built a couple of terrible static sites for some poor clients (which are thankfully long gone now), and I fell back into my design rut. I kept trying to teach myself more about development – you name it, I’ve tried it. But I never quite got back on top.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, I’m now sitting at LegRoom – THE digital agency for agencies. I interviewed for a position as a Social Media Coordinator (my only experience in a SM role came from absorbing the marketing team’s duties at an exhibition company), and while I was admittedly laughably underqualified, Lee and the LegRoom team gave me a chance. Why? Because they could feel my passion for development in my interview. And since hiring me, they’ve read all about it in my blogging endeavours, my Tweeting, and have (unfortunately for them!) had me chew their ears off in meetings.

Being hired at LegRoom has a lot of things for me, but most notably:

  1. It has shown me that passion trumps experience, which is incredibly important in a creative industry. I’m a big believer of not saying “can’t”. And LegRoom is too – it’s one of our philosophies.
    If we don’t have the knowledge to do something, we’ll figure it out and provide it to our clients – that kind of thinking is detrimental in not only development, but also design. You want to do everything you can to exceed your client’s expectations, and you’re going to go above and beyond to do it, even if it means sleeping three hours over four days, just to meet their deadline.
  2. It has ignited a fire stronger than I ever could’ve imagined.
    I’ve never felt so compelled and passionate about learning something. The opportunity that I’ve always wanted is sitting right infront of me – I spend my days writing about development, tech and the web, and I’m surrounded by some of the kindest and most talented developers I’ve ever met, all of which share that very same passion.

After years of turmoil, you can imagine my feelings when I was hired for my dream job, and when I was told that there would be room for me to move into development at some capacity, if that’s something I was interested in.

And here I sit, writing a new series in the LegRoom blog: the ‘Road to Code’. A new year, a new beginning, and a tonne of new musings that I’m beyond excited to share!

I’ll be tweeting more about my journey over on my personal Twitter (@murphytrueman) – let’s share our experiences and chat all things dev!