If you've been keeping up, you know that I recently left my position with RevSystems, Inc in New Jersey to join the incredible digital team at Obama For America in Chicago. After two weeks with the development team, I can safely say that I love working here.
Every individual designer and developer on this team is the best at what they do. The designers all have absolutely stunning portfolios and incredible client lists, while the developers all excel at creating innovative and immersive experiences for web. Naturally, this is to be expected since Obama has the most advanced digital team in campaign history, but it still tough to really grasp the amount of talent that surrounds me every day.
My first days here have been challenging - adapting to a brand new (and wildly different) workflow, changing the formatting of my code, starting to use new tools like LESS, Codekit and more. Once I got through the first few hours of these challenges, it was clear that this workflow was significantly better than my own in terms of speed and reliability. Git for version control, templating systems for rapid prototyping and production pages, LESS for writing easily-maintainable CSS, and a combination of textmate, codekit and xScope to quickly tear comps into a combination of semantic code and compressed images.
A simple way to put this into perspective: I few months ago, taking a new blog design, cutting it and coding (responsively) for wordpress would take 1-2 full work days. Yesterday, I managed to take TWO comps to coded wordpress sites within four hours.
Before moving out here, every person I spoke to said Chicago was an amazing city. Some claimed it rivaled New York - though I think they were just trying to convince themselves of that. Needless to say, it was a pretty big deal to leave behind my whole life in New Jersey and come out here. To make it as simple as possible, I ditched everything I didn't need. I took a small suitcase with clothes, my camera & laptop. That's it. And, so far, it has proven to be a huge advantage.
Now that some time has passed and I have been able to settle in, I can say that Chicago is pretty nice. Considering how much I despise winter, I think the fact that I am not badmouthing Chicago with every chance I get shows just how nice it is. Of course, the real opinion will come out later this year when the weather stops being terrible, but there is still a long way to go.
And, I guess, the people I get to work with every day are pretty awesome too. I guess.
So until next time, enjoy some of my exploration of the city from earlier today.*