Guil Hernandez, Dave McFarland, and More: Will’s Inspirations

Canny Updates

Will smiling with the words inspired by behind him


6 min read

To understand what inspired me to become a website developer, we need to go back to the beginning.

It all really started during my college days, when I was given web assignments.

Before discovering web technologies, our lecturers gave us a wide range of tasks within computing, to give us a taste of what jobs are available within the industry.

When I started completing the different web projects, I discovered I wanted to be a website developer.

It was the one thing that got me excited, and I enjoyed delving into these projects the most.

Around this time, I also discovered the people who inspired me…

The following individuals helped me land my first job in web development, by teaching me a lot of the information I needed to know.

Of course, my college lecturers helped me too, but I want to focus on some names you might recognise.

These people include Dave McFarland, Guil Hernandez, Zac Gordon, and Chris Coyier.

Let’s start with Guil Hernandez.

Guil Hernandez talking at an event to a room full of people
Credit to Guil Hernandez

Inspiration #1 Guil Hernandez

I first discovered Guil when learning CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Simply put, this is the language used to make your website look good.

Essentially, it is the “presentation” layer.

Before I discovered Guil, I used visual builders to create the design of my websites. However, another student at college pointed out that it was easier to just write your own CSS. So, I decided to take their advice and learn all about CSS.

I ended up on a platform called ‘Treehouse’, and one of the first lecturers I discovered was Guil who was teaching CSS.

He started off with the very basics, including how to select different elements (i.e. header, body, footer, buttons etc.) on a webpage. After that, he moved onto the different properties CSS has, including how properties can change the colour or position of elements on a webpage.

By the end of Guil’s course, I was able to style any webpage design in code.

The one thing that really inspired me to get to the stage where I could code out any design, was Guil’s lesson on 3D perspective.

An example of which, can be found here:

I was blown away by this and I just wanted to be able to do all of this on my own.

Dave McFarland talking to someone over a table
Credit to Treehouse

Inspiration #2 Dave McFarland

Next up is Dave McFarland.

Just like Guild, Dave is a lecturer at Treehouse. The only difference is that he teaches JavaScript (not Java which JavaScript is often confused with. However, Java is a totally different language).

Before discovering Dave, I only did a little bit of work with JavaScript at college, which involved adding a piece of functionality to a webpage, that prevented the need of a full page reload.

When updating something on a website (a cart on a add to cart button), there’s two ways the cart can be updated. The first is a page reload and the second is a seamless update (no reload).

The latter is the better way to go, as no one really likes a full page reload when performing a small action.

This got me thinking “what else can be done with JavaScript”, so I searched for JavaScript courses on Treehouse and found Dave.

Just like Guil, Dave started off with the very basics of JavaScript (the individual components that can be used to make a script).

After this, Dave presented an example of a completed project (one that was performing actions without the need of a full page refresh), then broke it down into small chunks which made the complete project.

These small chunks contained all of the basics of JavaScript (that I had learnt previously), and it showed me how to build a complete project in JavaScript by using the basics. It answered my question “how do I build something with all of this”.

I could go off on a tangent talking about JavaScript, but to keep this short, Dave got me to the stage where I could read a website project briefly, identify what would need JavaScript, and what chunks of JavaScript I would need to write.

Chris Coyier pointing to a sign above his head
Credit to Chris Coyier

Inspiration #3 Chris Coyier

Next on my list is Chris Coyier.

As a web designer and developer, he is very well known in the web industry.

He actually built CSS-Tricks, co-founded CodePen, co-hosts ShopTalk, and has written two books.

I first really started to look at Chris Coyier during my dissertation. This was because he kept turning up at the top of my Google Results when searching for web related topics (his CSS-Tricks blog).

I even used CodePen to experiment with code examples from my Treehouse courses.

The reason Chris was an inspiration to me came down to his CSS code examples on his blog (they are always neat, concise and very well explained) and CodePen.

His blog helped me with my research for my dissertation, and CodePen allowed me to experiment with things during my college projects and Treehouse courses.

I still use CSS-Tricks today, and I always seem to learn something new or find a better way of doing something from reading his blog. It simply continues to improve my CSS-Trickery!

Zac Gordon sat on a flight of stairs smiling
Credit to Zac Gordon

Inspiration #4 Zac Gordon

Lastly we have Zac Gordon.

Zac Gordan is an educator in WordPress. He used to be a teacher on Treehouse, and now he’s a teacher on Udemy (another learning platform).

I first discovered Zac when I started looking for WordPress tutorials as I discovered there were quite a few jobs in WordPress development when I was looking for my first role.

At this time, Zac was on Treehouse, so I knew the course content would be really good and it saved me from having to look at different tutorials and performing comparisons.

His course covered everything in WordPress and ultimately enabled me to get a job in this area.

The thing I liked most about WordPress, was I could use everything I had learned previously to create a website on this platform. The only thing I had to learn was how WordPress works and how to achieve specific things (i.e. creating pages and adding updatable content to pages etc.)

Ultimately, he is the one person that taught me my WordPress knowledge, which in turn, allowed me to apply for jobs in this field.

This was the final step I needed to ensure I had all the fundamental knowledge required to land my first job.

To Wrap It Up…

So, there we have it – the key people that inspired me to:

  • Start learning new things (CSS, JS, WordPress)
  • Improve on what I already know
  • Experiment with things
  • Get through my dissertation
  • Get me through the hard times
  • Learn enough to land my first job

Lastly, if you’re also wanting to become a WordPress developer, I’m sure these people will be able to help you on your journey!