Hi, I’m a ninja

I just read Rob Mason’s article Demeaning titles, with the tagline “Ninja, Rockstar or Jedi — please don’t”. His article discusses the use of such titles by web designers, web developers and the like; how it is simply bragging, and that there is no need to label yourself with such titles.

Ideally, your work should speak for itself.

Yes, it should.

For about half a year, I have written on my portfolio that “I’m pretty ninja at HTML5, CSS and WordPress”.

Well, I am pretty ninja. I’m not saying I am a ninja. I’m just saying I’m good at what I do.

I further that point, and write “and I’m kind of awesome with RWD and IA”.

I say kind of because in comparison to what I am ninja at, I am probably not quite as good.

Daniel pointed out that such titles are become cliche in the web design community. They are, but at the same time, it all started for a bit of fun. No one who says they are a Jedi really thinks they are a Jedi. No one who says they are a ninja really thinks they are a ninja.

At work, we use the two terms to basically set apart those people who are extremely skilled in certain aspects related to the functioning of the company. Yes, that was a mouthful, and extremely vague.

Moving on. Web design is a profession. It is generally advised to maintain a sense of professionalism. But I dumped my all-too-serious portfolio two years ago to write something fun, even if it was a casual “My favourite colour is red; in case you hadn’t guessed that already”. What did it do? It got me a job.

So did “I’m pretty ninja at HTML5, CSS and WordPress”. Well, not quite directly – but it wasn’t something that deterred me from being employed. For the record, I got three job offers at the beginning of this year, none of which I actually even applied for.

It’s no longer unusual for web designers or developers to label themselves as a member of the mystical knightly order à la Star Wars, trained to guard peace and justice in the Universe – among the extravagantly designed portfolios, parallax scrolling and excessive JavaScript and superfluous weights of webfonts loaded just to say “Hi” at the top of a page.

Everyone exaggerates from time to time. Like, you don’t really piss yourself laughing when you say PMSL. Do you really LOL? LOL.

Just another thing that shouldn’t be taken so seriously.

Comments on this post

I read the article, and while I agree with the whole “be humble” point, that is not usually feasible in the web-design world. You have to show-off your skills in the (web) design industry. You need to self-promote to make yourself unique. There’s thousands of other designers, but how do you set yourself apart? Calling yourself a ninja, although now cliché, is probably one way to show that you are very skilled. Most appropriate way to do that is to tone down that humbleness. And you can call yourself whatever you want!

Woah that was deep. I wanted to be an expert at web designing but dunno where to start. The school i think cannot contribute well enough to feed my brain and creativity. Frankly i dont know where to start, can you please point me to a page where i can start from scratch?
Thank you!

I think using such titles is also a way for you to set yourself apart. I mean look, it got you a job.

What’s wrong with “bragging” if you’ve actually got the skills to show for it? You’re one of the best web developers I know. People who have a problem with you saying you’re a ninja need to re-evaluate what they do with their time. Lmao.