I often have interesting conversations with people about being a web developer. This is either because the person I’m speaking to is one, and we get to talk shop and all the exciting things going on in the world of web development, or because they are fascinated by what a web developer is and does.
I thought it’d be fun to share a little about what a day in the life of a web developer might look like and some of the things we developers get up to. But before we start, allow me to let you into a little secret…
Web Development can be learnt
I found myself in the right place, at the right time, in the right digital marketing company just before COVID and lockdown hit. I started coding and learning web development outside of work as a hobby. At the same time, Cariad was growing and looking to take on a junior developer or apprentice to support the web builds here.
The rest as they say, is history, and here I am today, two and a half years on, having successfully navigated a career change into a field I am passionate about and love.
But, I’m not a naturally gifted developer, and I wasn’t the sort of genius that some people believe you need to be to code and do web development (you don’t). I just found what I am passionate about, what I love, and I have learnt over time to become a better developer today.
Learning to code is hard work, it is mentally exhausting at times, it takes a great deal of practice, and hours doing it. However I always encourage anyone who is interested in coding and becoming a developer because I know that it is possible with the right commitment. A big part of being a successful developer is honing your problem solving skills.
Right, enough about me, let’s see what a typical day in the life of a web developer looks like.
It may also surprise you to know that not all of a developer’s day is spent simply coding and building something. There are many other hats a web developer wears throughout the day, such as:
- support and maintenance tasks
- working through incoming tickets to our helpdesk
- attending meetings with clients and within our team
- managing my own mailbox
- thinking of new smart ways to work and how to improve current workflows
- staying up to date with the latest improvements in the industry
- finding solutions to problems
- developing websites
- the list goes on…
It’s fair to say there isn’t a lot of ‘downtime’ so I need to be intentional and carve out time in the day-to-day stuff.
Being organised is key
I normally log on and start the day early before the first meeting of the day at 9am so that I have time to get organised before the demands come in and the other jobs build up. This time is to check my mailbox, check our helpdesk tickets, make sure no websites are down, and nothing business critical has happened overnight etc. It’s very rare but worth checking.
I’ll then start turning my attention to my main focus for the day ahead, which might be a current web build I’m working on, it might be some in-house development, or it might be preparing for a client meeting.
Each morning at 9am we have a team meeting to catch up, talk through anything important going on, tell each other what the day’s priorities are so we can support each other and make sure everyone has what they need for a successful day.
Once the morning meeting is over, time to make that second cup of coffee of the day and then onto the first important jobs. Prioritising the workload is important and I will always work through the biggest or most important jobs first to build some momentum, and save the non-urgent jobs until later.
These jobs could involve writing code if needed, bug fixing, developing a new website, adding a new feature to an existing website and anything in between.
Talking through any problems
A day in the life of a developer can be a lonely job at times, with requests coming in constantly, deadlines to meet, and bugs to fix. Problem solving isn’t always easy to do alone. It can be frustrating, and stressful when something doesn’t work as you hoped or thought it might. I’m thankful and lucky to have my team of James, Encho and Anastasiia to bounce ideas off and talk through any problems.
It’s amazing how many times we jump on a call with a problem we are trying to solve and within minutes the other person has a solution. #teamworkmakesthedreamwork – cheesy but true!
Scoping upcoming projects
A big part of a developer’s job is scoping out future projects and trying to analyse it from all angles to understand the work involved, problems that will need to be solved, timeframes and more. It is one of the more challenging tasks, and one that you find improves with time and mistakes on old projects. As much as you try to consider everything, there is always something that you hadn’t anticipated or something you assumed would be a quick job, turns into a week-long affair.
Talking it through always helps, and building in a contingency budget for the unforeseen seems to make more sense the more I do these; better to be safe than sorry.
Every day brings its own challenges, and as I mentioned at the start of this article, problem solving is probably the biggest part of any web developer’s job. You may not initially know how to solve a problem, the problem may seem overwhelming and unachievable even, but the best way to solve any problem is to break it down into pieces, and then break it down even further.
The smaller, and simpler the pieces you’re left with the better, and the more momentum you will build. Before you know it, you’ve solved the problem and it’s on to the next one with little time to celebrate those victories. It’s those victories and small wins that made me love what I do every day, and continue to fuel the fire to become a better developer one day at a time.
- Being a web developer is challenging, frustrating and demoralising at times when you can’t find the solution you’re looking for.
- Web developers are part of a wider team and it’s important to lean on your team and work together.
- Web development, in my opinion, is one of the greatest career choices you can make… if you’re into that sort of thing that is!
If this has piqued your interest, why not check out our careers page to keep an eye open for more of our exciting career opportunities at Cariad Marketing, sign up for our newsletter and/or follow us on social media…