Front-end web developer David Thompson joined Tecmark in April 2015. We caught up with him in the latest ‘Tecmark 10’ to hear about obsessive headphone buying… and how a boutique in Barcelona led to a big career change. Follow David on Twitter.
1. What does your typical day look like?
No day is ever the same; I’m always kept on my toes. Whether it be bug fixing, consulting or coding from scratch, every day is a surprise and never dull.
2. What’s the most satisfying aspect of your work?
Inventing and finding new ways to solve a challenge. I have a voice and everything we work on is a true collaboration. If I don’t like something and it’s justified, the project will be changed. And if I don’t know something, we have the talent and skill on hand so that I can be taught how to do it.
We’re always encouraged to push forward, to learn something new and experiment. Tecmark has a very healthy and nourishing attitude towards development and I feel very lucky to be part of it.
3. And the best thing about working at Tecmark?
Our approach. This is a much bigger operation than I have previously experienced. Here we have teams dedicated to search, SEO, sales, marketing, social and outreach. My absolute favourite thing is when all of these teams discuss the projects and each team has their input and their goals. This means that before any project lands on my desk I know that it’s been fully considered and I understand exactly what my part has to achieve.
It’s so refreshing to be able to code with such confidence, knowing that my contribution is a part of the bigger picture.
4. You’ve got a varied background… how did you end up as a front-end developer?
I owned a little boutique in Barcelona. I needed a website building and, after approaching a few locals for extortionate quotes, I thought to myself “Do you know what, I’ve got the time, I can learn how to do this myself!”
So I did – and I got absolutely hooked. I loved typing strange characters and then hitting the refresh button to see what would happen next.
I was then employed as a junior dev in a branding agency based in Bath. This was such a whirlwind of an education. I learned so much and got to put my skills into practice on a daily basis.
My time at the branding agency really brought it home that coding is something I want to do. I love it. I’m constantly challenged. My job’s never boring and the internet is always changing, so there’ll always be new things for me to learn and master.
I chose front-end because I’m obsessed with how things look and behave. UX is really important to me, and it’s the interaction between users and websites that really excites me. I always try to provide smart and intuitive solutions for our clients and their users (with a little bit of understated flare too).
5. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned over the last 12 months?
Although I’d toyed with GIT before, I’m getting a really good handle on it. It’s so powerful and now I couldn’t imagine running a project without it. The most valuable thing I’ve learned is how to work in a team of developers. Every day I’m truly impressed and inspired by my colleagues.
6. And what do you expect to be learning over the next 12 months?
JS and more JS – the web scene is completely JS loco at the moment. I’m really looking forward to learning frameworks and experimenting.
Aside from JS – and I know it sounds silly – I expect to be learning everything. IT and the web are vast. There’s no way I could learn it all or be the best at one thing. If I got great at one thing, it could be completely irrelevant or outdated the next day – the world of web never stops. Every day IS a school day in my world.
7. Do you have any advice for wannabe developers?
Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance. Keep up, challenge yourself and always look for what’s next.
Immerse yourself in every coding opportunity and spend time with other coders. Just seeing other people’s workflow or approach is an education in itself.
8. How do you relax away from work?
I’m an avid gig-goer, I love the release of a mosh-pit or music outside somewhere in the sunshine. I also love to ditch all my tech and disappear somewhere in the countryside.
9. Spotify or vinyl?
Originally I’d say vinyl, but have you ever carted around a box full of vinyl? It’s highly impractical.
I’m so addicted to Spotify nowadays that if I leave my house without my headphones I’ll actually go and buy a new pair just so I can listen to music on my commute.
Collaborative playlists with fellow musos are the best thing ever invented!
10. Which are your top three websites for coding geeks?
The first two are dated now, but were pioneers for their time:
1) Hello Run. I have real code envy for this site. The simplicity, the UX, the design – it gets me every time. It’s so addictive.
2) An interactive CV by Robby Leonardi. I’m not such a fan of flat design, but this was one of the first of its kind and one of the first horizontal scrolling sites the Internet had ever seen. This site deserves to be archived as a standout example of coding and execution. It is perfection.
3) Codrops. These guys are a constant source of inspiration. Their tutorials are ace and they’re always one step in front. Future thinkers! If you see it here you can guarantee it’ll be a trend in a few months’ time.
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About the Author
A former journalist with experience in radio, TV and a decade in national newspapers, Neil now focuses on communications and results-driven copywriting.Visit Neil's Page
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