The sixth in a series of occasional articles about our employees in 2021.
Please tell us about your professional background before you joined GWS
After finishing sixth form where I was studying English, Computing, Maths and Psychology I worked as a web and app developer at a company called Wilxite in Stroud for around a year and a half before moving to Bristol and joining GWS in 2018.
Please take us through the kinds of things you do in your job at GWS in a typical week
It can differ week to week depending on our current projects but I am a full stack web and app developer so there are many things I could be doing. I could be writing code to add or update functionality on the websites we are building or renewing, styling the look and feel of a site, or importing and manipulating data in a database to name a few. I could also be building the UI in an app, or writing its functionality in code.
Which aspects of the job you enjoy the most?
I’ve always loved coding because I get great satisfaction from logical thinking and problem solving. When I was a child I loved things like puzzles, mazes, maps and diagrams so I think getting into programming was the logical thing to do! Considering the best approach to a challenge and then writing an algorithm to solve it is always something I find enjoyable.
What has been your biggest achievement / something you are really proud of?
I would say I’m proud of the progress I have cultivated in my career thus far, after starting to learn code at around age 10 and years of working as a hobbyist developer. Working on high-profile and important sites like Mensa has been great and seeing a client’s business when I’m out and about and being able to point out I worked on their website or app is a simple thing but satisfying nonetheless. Outside of work I would say my friends telling me I’m a caring and loyal friend is something I’m proud of.
Websites and Digital marketing are constantly evolving. What changes do you see happening lately that affect the work you do in your role (be it design, development, SEO, copywriting or social media)?
The pool of desired and up-and-coming programming languages is always shifting and developing as time progresses. This means that a certain language you are working in may become less desirable or supported over the years and you may have to pivot into developing in another. On the server-side this is not so pressing - PHP is still by far the most widely used server-side language, although recent surveys indicate its usage is slowly declining. But on the software development and front-end side there is a lot of change. For example there are many JS frameworks and different ones are desired by different companies. Python has been a popular software development language for decades but in the last 10 years or so languages such as Rust and Go have come to the fore. Recently Apple shifted focus from Objective-C to Swift for iOS apps and even more recently Google shifted from Java to Kotlin for Android.
What are some of your hobbies and interests outside work?
Cinema is my main interest - I’m always staying up to date with the latest releases and I try to go to the cinema every week. My favourite film of recent years is probably Arrival, which blew my mind the first time I saw it. I’m also a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and the rest of Tolkien’s legendarium. I love music, socialising, reading, and gaming when I get time. You’ll also find me coding my own projects at home.
How have you found adapting to a different way of working during the lock-down?
It’s been fairly smooth really. Obviously all of my work is done on a computer anyway, so other than configuring my home computer for better productivity when working, it was a pretty painless transition. Working from home has been nice as well, although coming into the office helps to split up the day.
Have you got any work hacks you could share?
I love working in the terminal - I generally use Ubuntu WSL. For a developer, moving most of your work environment (and even personal environment) into the terminal is endlessly rewarding. From one terminal shell I can code, check emails, make notes and to-do lists, search the internet, interact with the file system, change music on Spotify, you name it. For max productivity tmux and vim plugins make you a real power user.
Where do you look for inspiration: a person, a blog, a brand?
With the current state of the world being a pretty depressing affair, seeing people still doing things to help each other and make each other happy is always something that inspires me. But honestly to go back to talking about cinema again, films can be immense in inspiring me. Seeing a film that really takes you and makes you feel something powerful is a great feeling, and that continues into real life. To quote the late Roger Ebert, “the movies are like a machine that generates empathy”.
Quick fire round:
Tea or coffee?
Coffee, but I’m not impartial to a cuppa.
Fox’s Golden Creams. Very underrated biscuit. Dipping one in a cup of tea is glorious.
Omnivore or vegetarian?
Mac or Windows?
Windows (+ Linux).
Favourite genres of music (e.g. classical, jazz, blues, folk, country, pop, rock, metal, disco, house, rap, trance, EDM)?
I listen to most genres but my favourites are metal and pop, followed by rock, rap and various electronic sub-genres.
5 musical artists you enjoy listening to?
Deftones, Bring Me The Horizon, Taylor Swift, The Prodigy, Grimes.
All-time favourite song?
My Own Summer (Shove It) by Deftones.
Morning or night person?
Favourite subject(s) at school?
Cereal or toast?
Cereal all the way.
Work-life balance or workaholic?
Thing you’ve missed most in lock-down?
Going to the cinema.