My first encounter with computer was at 1995, 18 years ago, at my high school computer lab. It was very late introduced to that cool stuff at your high school but that was common to Indonesian at that time. Even, I still considered myself was luckier than my friends at village.
That computer was an x386 compatible PC. Cool! The computer had DOS 3.1 on it. My first try at programming language was GW Basic or BASICA (not sure which one). At that time when Steve Jobs returned trying to save Apple, I began to learn Pascal, my first favorite programming language, using Borland’s Turbo Pascal. I also tried some utility apps with WordStar and Lotus 123. That’s enough for a nostalgia.
After high school, I experienced so wonderful rich experiences on my career. I got my first work as intern then staff at PT. Indosat, Tbk, used to be NYSE listed company. After three years, I moved to various other places: Media Indonesia, Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information (a non profit organization), and PT Veritas Technology. Most of my works were programming stuff (PHP, C#), but I got responsibilities for small design works. This was, by accident, introduced me to user experience design, or generally more design works.
Since late 2006, I started working full-time at home. I did freelance web development. At 2007, TopCoder, Inc—the first and popular competition programming site—starting to host graphic design competition at TopCoder Studio (now Studio Design). I became independent contractor at Studio Design. It’s like freelance work but they called us competitor because we compete for work. Best works would get paid (not just one work, could be two or more). Some of you will call this work as spec work. I won 2nd and 3rd place position of TopCoder Open Design Competition hosted on site at Las Vegas, Nevada, at 2007 and 2008 respectively.
The most important thing with working at Studio Design are able to find many types of creative work. They host various kinds of them: web design, mobile design, idea generation, icon, banner, flash, UI prototype, wireframe, etc. At TopCoder, it was my first time introduced to information architecture and user experience design work: creating wireframes, making prototypes, making specifications—for various global companies, including some Fortune 500. I do mostly UX design work, using various tools, HTML/CSS by hand, Axure for creating wireframes, and Photoshop/Illustrator to create necessary graphics.
And the rest are history.
In 2011 I co-founded Digdaya, a small app studio, based in Jakarta, Indonesia. My title is Lead Developer tough I responsible for product design, which including UX design and development. We launched several apps, mostly iOS apps. Some of them, I believe, are successful. One of them do not get enough traction. We’ll talk about that later.
Programming teaches me a lot about dealing with stuff and features. Graphic design pushes the limit for that expectation. And, having user experience design in mind, I could thrive to success while also evaluate to any mistakes. One thing I really like with my work, with all pros and cons, I got many challenges to do things I liked most, creating good experience to users.