HOWU Instructor Spotlight: Brian Wood

Accomplished developer and Adobe-certified teacher Brian Wood has been making his mark with the HOW design community.

Brian Wood HOWUThese days, you can catch Brian on video, educating the HOW audience on how to build web sites and apps. Brian’s Dreamweaver course sequence for HOW Design University fits all skill levels, from beginner to intermediate—and now a new advanced course.

The Dreamweaver courses surely showcase Brian’s talent for teaching, in addition to his developing prowess. We caught up with this multi-talented creative guru to find out how he stays engaged and on top of his game.

So I hear you’re a designer turned developer. How did that happen, exactly?

I was a designer/production at a large catalog company and was told (not so subtly) that maybe I should try doing more production. Kidding aside (that actually happened), I realized that I actually love and have a propensity for staring at code. After coding my first web site in PageMill in 1997, I was hooked.

Wow! Hooked at your first code. What has been especially rewarding about developing? Any job experience in particular?

I worked in print production for years. I did a fair amount of pre-press, production and printing. The thing that really drew me to developing was the instant gratification. Thinking, wow, I just typed that in and now anyone in the world can see it (not that they do).

What’s one thing you think every aspiring (or even established) developer should know?

Don’t be afraid to learn… it’s cliché, but the web is constantly changing. You need to be willing to get out there and see what is new in terms of web technology.

I imagine you’ve given out a lot of advice on your site? 

Yes, I have. Starting my site,, has been one of the best experiences I’ve had, in terms of developing. I’ve learned so much in such a short time because I’m pushed to add cutting-edge content.

Being pushed can be a good thing then, right?

Well it’s not always about pushing the envelope because sometimes new technology won’t work for certain projects. It’s about staying ahead of the curve and loving what you do. Oh—and find a good designer to team with. You need each other. 😉

Speaking of teaming up: What do you do for HOWU?

I teach several online courses (which are also self paced study courses), including a series on working with Adobe DPS. HOWU fits perfectly into my life since I not only like to develop, but also teach it.

I like sharing what I’ve learned (the good and bad). Teaching something can actually help you to understand it better.

I believe it. Your career has truly taken off and evolved over time. What type(s) of self-promotion tactics have you found most successful?

In my line of work, as a developer and trainer, it’s either people seeing me teach (live or through webinar or video) or word-of-mouth. Social media is also great if you can leverage it, but having people see what you’ve created is the best sort of promotion to me.

If you weren’t a developer, what would you be?

A paleontologist. Yes, like Ross from the show “Friends.” That’s what I went to school for and started (but didn’t finish) my PhD. Art and dinosaurs have always been a passion of mine.

Art and dinosaurs—pretty exciting! What’s the most exciting part of being a developer in 2013?

Part of the excitement is to see how far we’ve come so fast. People are pushing the limits of technology every day, it seems. I like learning, so web development suits me.

When you’re away from the screen, how do you spend your free time?

Besides spending time with my wife and son in sunny San Diego, I play a lot of tennis, basketball, and I box.

Soak up some more of Brian’s knowledge in one of his Dreamweaver online courses through HOW Design University.

Or visit MyDesignShop to get more career advice from new, interactive titles like Using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite: A Guide for Interactive Designers.