My first paid job was to build a website for a company that created carbon fiber products. This was in 2000 and I was 16 years old. I had never heard of Photoshop, but there was Paint Shop Pro. The coding and most of the designing was done in a text editor. Verdana was the hottest font available. My theory then was that "more is more". The client had the same mentality and this resulted in adding as many features as we could think of. An animated Flash intro, a sexy visitors counter, hover click sounds effects and a funky background song. The client was happy (""Fresh and modern", they thought) and it worked beautifully in Internet Explorer 6 and Netscape.
An interesting thing about that time is how websites were actually designed - I mean that they were designed in the browser for the browser. This way of working I think is slowly coming back, but in a modern version. We have learned our lessons from spending countless hours trying to create pixel perfect "Photoshop babies" and realized that we should have spent the time making it beautiful for the end user in the browser instead. New software are emerging and it will be interesting to see which design tool will be the next big thing.
Since my first job and after my Hyper Island education, I have been a designer nomad working with web design in USA, Australia, France, Sweden and Norway. It has given me opportunities to meet with different work cultures and design styles and given me the chance to learn and work with many talented people. The differences between agencies are big when it comes to project types, their goals, client lists, processes and so on. I think it's a good thing to try out different work places, learn what you can and then find a new place where you can learn more. A different experience for me was to work at Anonymous in Paris where even the boss (talented Marc Guillaumain) was part of the production team, doing 3D etc.
At the moment I'm working at Try/Apt in Oslo, Norway. We are striving to become one of the most renowned agencies. A few weeks ago we were nominated Agency of the Year and we are continuously figuring out the recipe to become even better :)