My role as a developer
I work at JH as a frontend developer, I love what I do. I am part of the team that's at the forefront of making websites faster for our clients and their users.
We have produced several award-winning websites and are currently leading the charge of establishing Progressive Web Application (PWA) on the Magento Two platform.
How did you get into being a Front-end Developer?
It was when at University, doing a Multimedia course that I gravitated toward web design and development. There I learnt a little about Front-end, and over the years I’ve done several Front-end projects that I’ve always enjoyed.
While being a Lecturer of Media at Nottingham College I delivered on several web modules to students. I practised by doing freelance jobs using modern best practice, all so that I was confident in teaching the students real-time knowledge that’d set them up best for getting jobs out there.
What made you make the switch from college to agency life?
Lecturing was great for me, it gave me time to develop my skills, I made some lifelong friends, and was able to start a small web design development practice with a couple of my colleagues.
But, I felt it was the right time to make a change: My personal life had taken some fairly exciting turns – in that time I’d become engaged, and my partner and I had our second child. In honesty, I wanted to be more, and do more, for my family.
Lecturing felt like a hard slog sometimes. Being able to inspire young people was amazing, something I’ll always feel passionate about. But obviously, that’s sometimes hard to do as a lecturer. When we had designers from JH in to speak– the students were so inspired, without exaggerating, for some of them it was pretty life-changing.
Now I’m working here I feel I’ll be able to do more for the young people wanting to enter this industry. It gives me a unique perspective on seeing it from both sides: both lecturing and working in an agency. I would really like to help to bridge the gap of what is expected from students leaving education wanting to enter into a role like this. I’d really like to help JH extend further into helping students get into the industry – there's definitely plenty of opportunities to do so here.
What drew you to JH as a place to work?
JH is quite different from other agencies. Its commitment to the community, seen by DXN, the event it runs, the support it gives to universities and colleges, and a whole lot more – for me, that really sets it apart. Like so many in Nottingham, I’ve always seen it as being somewhere I’d love to work sometime.
I’d been thinking about moving into full-time web development recently after learning so much: I knew I was now skilled enough and felt confident in my ability to learn more, so there was nothing stopping me going for it.
I just needed to find a company that was aligned to my career progression, attitude towards education – with creative, fun, and highly skilled people to be around, luckily JH was hiring.
How are you finding it here so far?
I feel very welcome and everyone has really gone above and beyond to make sure that I’m comfortable. Being the new kid in the office is strange, as I feel like I’m an old face here, having met so many of the team, and have worked with a fair few too – I’ve hot-desked here for my own work plenty of times too.
Now my hunger to learn more is what's driving me, I realise that there are so many more levels to where I want to go, and in order to get there I need to learn from the best: Some of the best people in the industry work here.
Have you got any advice for anyone looking for a career in Design / Development?
Personally, I think attending the brilliant meet-ups we have in Nottingham for the community is a really great start. JH’s DXN on the second Wednesday of every month, in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, and it’s a brilliant way to find out more and meet people in the industry.
In fact, it was December 2016 at DXN that change my mindset completely, it was a talk from designer Gareth Strange, it was called “change is good”. That hit a chord, and I felt like he was talking directly to me. After that, I decided to give it my all, applying for a Front-end Developer job they were advertising for at the time.
Just remember life is short, if you want to be in the industry, be in the industry – go to the events, put in the groundwork, so that you’re ready when the opportunity comes.