Thursday, August 20, 2015
I originally wrote this post for Cloud Construct (Click here to go to the original article). Hopefully you will learn a thing or two that you didn't already know. If not, feel free to browse the rest of my site! Enjoy!
I originally wrote this post for Cloud Construct. Hopefully you will learn a thing or two that you didn't already know. If not, feel free to browse the rest of my site! Enjoy!
A few months ago, I joined the Cloud Construct team, based in Boston. Before I joined the design and web development firm, I worked with an in-house development team. I quickly learned the differences between the two environments.
First, here's context: At my previous position, I worked as a front-end developer for a company that handled events, seminars, and publications for a few major software technology players. My daily responsibilities included maintaining the websites for the events and seminars. I also designed and created new visual items for those websites. Every once in a while, I got the opportunity to work on a different project, other than my daily responsibilities, but not often.
Below, I share what I believe every developer should know before they transition working from an in-house development team to a design and web development agency.
At an in-house development team, I experienced a good amount of downtime.When I worked on a different web project, I was able to use skills I had learned during my downtown. So, while the downtime enabled me to learn new skills for my career, the downside was that I wasn't always busy. Most days dragged on. Yet, at a web design and development firm with multiple clients and high-stake projects, there isn't much downtime. There's so much work to do, that you're challenged and busy. Personally, I like that. One of the first things I noticed when I started working at Cloud Construct is that I always have a project to work on. Most of the time I have several projects and each project comes from a different client. No two days and no two web development projects are ever the same.
In my previous role, the work itself become repetitive after a while. Plus, the code was outdated. As most developers will understand, I didn't feel challenged. Plus, most projects I worked on didn't have deadlines, which meant I could work on the project in the final two weeks before it had to launch. There wasn't a sense of urgency or ownership that I have found at Cloud Construct, working on web development projects. After just over two years with the in-house development team, I knew that, due to the slow pace and lack of skills advancement, it was time for a change. When you work on multiple web development projects, whether it's .NET or azure, you are consistently challenged. One day I could be working with new coding languages. Another day I could be trying new techniques with the languages I am proficient with.
Unlike the in-house development team with its slower pace, I work efficiently at Cloud Construct. Right off the bat I knew things were going to be different here than at my previous job. I had the chance to contract for Cloud Construct before I became a full-time team member, so I was able to check out what it would be like to work at this higher level.I knew when I decided to make this change that I would have to work harder and at a faster pace, but I definitely wanted to give it a try.
Some might consider the transition to have a steep learning curve, but I'm fortunate to be on a web development team that encourages questions. If there is ever a point that I don’t know something or can’t figure it out, I always have someone to help me. I use this to my full advantage, so that one day I can help someone else who is just learning, who needs someone to come to with questions.
Beyond new coding languages, I'm learning how to work cross-functionally. Cloud Construct uses agile project management to manage all its web development projects. Which means there is a project manager assigned to every project, to help keep the team moving forward. And this is a very good thing, let me tell you. Overall, I have gained valuable skills and knowledge working this way, in iterations with smart UX designers, engineers, account managers, and stakeholders.
The change from in-house to a web development firm has been perfect for me as a front-end developer. Not only am I evolving my skills and learning quickly, I am also having fun. What used to feel like long, tedious days are now days passing quickly because I enjoy the work. I enjoy the team and projects I work on. I wake up looking forward to the day ahead, because I know it will give me a chance to learn something new while being part of a team that enjoys collaborating -- and that's an awesome thing.