Cogneato: A New Job

Yay! I finally found a job. After six months of no income, I needed it. I’m doing front-end development for Cogneato, a small web development firm in Akron. They’ve done quite a few sites over the past decade, and have their own CMS/CRM they’ve built over that period. It’s pretty neat, allowing for some complicated things to be done with data and interesting features for managing customer information. It has many fancy AJAX features in the administrator interface. There have been seven people working there, and another one is coming soon. I only get to work on the front-end though.

Cogneato is only a 20 or so minute drive from my house. The atmosphere is very casual (hoodies instead of ties) and relaxed, very comfortable to work at. The owner and all the employees have been very nice.

The projects so far have been fun or/and good learning experiences. I’ve sliced two layouts from Adobe Fireworks and converted them to HTML/CSS, though they still have to be modified to receive content from the CMS. I’ve been using the HTML 5 doctype and a few accessibility tricks, among other things. This was my first real experience with Fireworks, and I found it very confusing when coming from Photoshop. Paths and selections are layers? They have to be combined with other layers to select something on them? No layer masks? Operations of many things are slightly to noticeably different, and it can be quite confusing. But I’m figuring it out, and many things related to working with websites are much easier. Having independent “Save for Web” settings for each slice is great.

The other thing I’ve done so far is pulling people from their background in Photoshop. I’ve done this before, and it was an important part of my Photoshop class at Tri-C. At Cogneato, they use a different method than I learned, and I started out very slow with it. They use the extract tool. I found a number of reasons why working on long tasks in a dialog box is a bad idea. Never hit the escape key: I lost a lot of work just by trying to back out of something I’d done. Also, there’s no way to save progress: I had to finish a photo with regular masking techniques. And I’m not sure why you can’t extract directly to a mask, so that you can save and modify later. But I got fairly fast at tracing the edges, then going back around with a brush that’s much more lenient than a brush on a mask. I tried masks and paths, but wasn’t able to do them as quickly on these images.

So the only problem with this job is that I was hired on for short term. I was not hired for the job I interviewed for, but rather to help them push through some extra business. I will be working for at least a month. The owner does want to keep me on long term, but it will be dependent on business. Luckily, it seems like they are getting a lot coming in, so if it stays that way, I should have a fine long term job.