26 September 2018

A Day in the Life of a Web Developer

 

Web development is all about learning new things. Figuring out the best way to approach a new feature, finding the cause of a bug that shouldn’t be happening and staying up to date with the best technology for the job. It’s a constantly evolving role where both the problems we’re faced with and their solutions are changing on a regular basis. So, what does a day in the life of a web developer look like at Storm?

Morning routine

First thing in the morning is ‘get your head on straight’ time. For me it involves getting some tea, taking a quick look over my list of work items and jotting down notes on paper about each one.

  • Which are the big items I really need to focus on today?
  • Are there any smaller fixes I can get out of the way quickly?
  • Do any of the items need to be clarified by the Project Manager?
  • Does somebody else have experience with this sort of work?

The idea is to clear my head and give me a good starting point to go from. I find it helpful to repeat this process any time it starts to feel like there’s too much going on at once.

Angus at computer

Standups & meetings

Most projects will have a scheduled standup every couple of days. These are a chance for the Project Manager to check in with the rest of the team, and for me to talk about what work I’ve been doing, any issues that have been holding me up, or anything I’d like another member of the team to take a look at. A lot of my notes from earlier come in useful here.

One of the good things about having everybody in the same office (besides our unanimous love of office music) is that impromptu standups can happen easily. If you’re having a problem you can quickly find someone who can lend a helping hand or point in the right direction.

Writing code

As a developer, it’s fair to say that most of my day is spent at my desk writing code. Sometimes it’s work on a new project where everything is shiny and fresh. Other times it’s a quick change for a support request. Often it’s a frustrating bug that needs investigation, which usually involves glaring intensely at the red error on the screen while thinking about all possible causes, before ruling them out one by one.

Owen at computer

Regardless, writing code just comes down to problem-solving. In the same way that people enjoy doing crosswords or sudoku, I like to code. Development is just about being faced with a problem and coming up with a solution. Often that solution doesn’t work the first time, so you have to tweak it a bit and try again. Sometimes you find that your first solution doesn’t work at all and you need a new approach entirely, but then you’ve learned something that should help when similar problems come up in future.

Communication

One thing I found surprising when starting out was that in a lot of cases there isn’t a universally accepted answer. Things move so quickly that new problems pop up all the time. This is why it’s really important for developers to communicate, share and work together. Both in online communities (I’ve found the answer to a lot of fixes just by searching through blog posts) and amongst our own team.

It’s common practice at Storm to share known issues, solutions, interesting articles or new technology by doing a quick demo, bringing them up at a team meeting or giving a shout-out in one of our Slack channels.

Graduates

In the end, there’s an immense feeling of satisfaction that comes from eventually figuring out the solution, watching the pieces fall into place and seeing that red error finally disappear! Do that enough times and you end up with a working feature and eventually a working website. The frustration that occurs along the way is definitely worth getting to see a site that your team worked on being helpful and useful to people out in the world.

If that sounds like your cup of tea, we’re always on the lookout for graduate developers to join the team. Find out more about graduate life at Storm, hear from some of our current graduates and apply online now!

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