A web agency is more than its output. Built upon people, Squarebird is home to curious creatives of all kinds – cracking out websites and projects that help businesses to evolve.
We’re a full-stack web agency from Bristol, home to web designers, developers, SEO experts, copywriters, and all things digital. In this blog, we’ve secured an exclusive interview with a member of our dev team – the backbone of many of our digital services.
If you’re in need of a digital evolution, get in touch. Otherwise, let’s fly right into it!
“Coding is a passion, not a mindset. If you have no passion, then you won’t be excited to learn.” – Jamie Nicholls, Web Developer
We asked our experienced web developer, Jamie, a variety of questions around what his working life is like – and what he thinks of it. This includes direct quotes from him, along with some additional insight into the topics!
What’s the biggest challenge for a web developer?
“This is a difficult question to answer – it changes depending on which aspect of a developer’s job you’re looking at.”
With development work, the hardest tasks tend to be viewed as building a large-scale website. Aside from the sheer scope of the content, you’ll also need to be focusing on the various aspects that make it up such as:
- Planning content
- Site structure
- The build process
- Co-operating with other teams
- Planning each element for the final site
However, the ad hoc side of things can prove equally challenging. If you’ve got to swap twenty forms from one system to another, with no downtime in between, that can prove a bit tricky.
The main difference here is the pressures being faced. On the one hand, there’s the scale of work – on the other, there’s client facing pressure. However, our developers take these challenges in stride – using them to drive forward and make results that soar.
What is a web developer’s day-to-day?
“It starts off the same as anyone else – checking emails. Overnight issues come in that need to be dealt with like amends to make, problems to diagnose, and maintenance requests.”
The day of a developer is very different each day. As is often the case in the creative industry, there are many different outputs and products that each have their own processes to navigate.
Once any requests have been dealt with, our developers can move on to the rest of their day, prioritising tasks and stacking major things at the top of the list. This can include work ranging from:
- Basic blocks of code
- Entire new innovative sections for a website
- Ongoing maintenance to keep things running
Our developer reported their work ratio as 60% maintenance, 40% ad hoc – but this changes drastically on a day-by-day and person-by-person basis.
One exciting aspect of the process is the problem solving involved. The dev team work together to solve issues, informing each other on new practices and solutions in a collaborative process that brings the whole team together.
Why did you get into dev?
“I got into dev when I was a young teen. I wanted to have a way for people to electronically sign in to an afterschool club. After that, I saw the power and creativity that comes from learning code – and everything sort of evolved from there.”
Dev work involves a lot of coding, but it isn’t a strictly scientific process; it’s just as inspired as any other aspect of a creative web agency. From exploring technical concepts and functions to bringing them together, everything works towards creating something for people to experience, use, and enjoy.
Jamie’s motivation is for people – but also for the learning process. He fell in love with coding, learning more programming languages than he cares to mention, and carries that same passion through to each and every project he touches.
What is the best thing about being a web developer?
“When I was younger, I always coded on my own. Now, I get to work with a team of talented devs that can bounce ideas off each other and come up with new ways to innovate how we code and process things.”
In any industry, it’s nice to have others to float your ideas towards and collaborate on a mutual goal and understanding. With dev, this results in better projects, learning, and validation for our team and clients.
What has been your most memorable web project?
“I like projects where I’m required to learn something new. One that comes to mind is the first recruitment website I worked on, where I completed the full integration of the Broadbean job board system.”
This was a complex project and involved learning how to take something from a job listing site, pulling it onto another, and having this process function dynamically so the sites could interact with each other without user input.
A fun process, involving learning new things and exploring the more complex aspects of the web development process. It was also a plus that the client was co-operative and great to work with!
For more inspiring projects, hop on over to our case studies!
How does dev work align with the other parts of a web agency?
“As devs, we tend to be one of the last teams to work on a project. Before the project even starts, we’ll have meetings with the project leaders, designers, and everyone involved really, figuring out how to work it.”
The development team works hard to implement the designs, content, and other pieces of the puzzle that make up a website – placing them all together in a responsive final site. This involves getting the last few bits over the line with tons of communication and back-and-forth for finalisation of minor details.
We get each team to have a look over once the work is done, and once everyone is happy, the devs move forward with the go-live process. From there, our relationship with the client and their site doesn’t usually end – we perform maintenance, firewall support, ad hoc, and more, usually up until the client wants a new site and starts the process again.
How do you perceive your role vs how do you feel you are perceived?
“I feel like, with how I’m perceived by others, most people would look at me and see someone like Morpheus from The Matrix.”
The development team are the lifeline for websites, keeping them up, performing maintenance on the daily, and corresponding with clients to keep them happy and to ensure their sites are running optimally.
How quickly does your field progress? Are there any recent notable developments?
“It does take a lot of reading to keep up – even with the core codes themselves. For example, PHP has updated quite a lot while I’ve been a web developer, from 7.3 to 8.2 over the last four years.”
What might be thought of as a static set of instructions is actually an ever-evolving, expansive collection of languages. Thousands of developers across the world are constantly innovating, causing ripple effects for technologies, codes, and libraries.
New ways of doing things that have existed a long time and even entirely new concepts arise constantly – basically, the field of web development changes a lot.
Do you have any closing thoughts?
“The process of a day-to-day developer can change, quite literally, daily. It’s all about learning – using code to build exactly what you envision. Complexities happen, and it’s down to the dev to fix it and figure it out – but you’ll have help when you want it.”
Web Development and Digital Services from Squarebird
Our dev team has an inspiring mindset of passion, communication, and learning. If you’re interested in how they work, take a look at our web development page. Keep an eye on our careers section if you’re nestling ideas of getting into dev yourself or get in touch to start your webspace evolution!