Day in the Life of a Software Developer at a Digital Agency

Jul 19 / Dean Spooner

Hi there! My name is Dean, and I am a Front End Developer for a large digital agency in Manchester city centre. I have been in my role for half a year, and have enjoyed every moment of it. I was previously a primary school teacher for five years, teaching five and six year olds. As much as I miss working with kids, I definitely felt the need for a change in career after the pandemic added to the challenges of the job, and moving into the field of front end development has been an absolute joy.

My daily routine can vary, but generally my days start with team standups. This is where I will join meetings to update my colleagues on the latest work I have done on tickets, such as any progress I may have made with certain code, any findings in investigations or estimations, or any blockers or difficulties I am facing, as well as my plans for the day.

After standups, I will start working on tickets that I have for different projects. These tend to be a lot of front end tweaks, features or bug-fixes that our clients want on their websites. My tickets can vary hugely depending on the client, the project, and their needs and wants at the time - one day I can be implementing Google Maps into a search component, the next I may be working with YouTube APIs to ensure videos are embedded correctly, the next I might be creating an overhauled navigation bar with lots of new, fancy styling! Expect lots of interesting work with React, JavaScript, TypeScript, HTML, and CSS/Sass, with a bit of the occasional Angular or other frameworks to keep me challenged and learning through work!

Throughout the day, I’m constantly in contact with other developers and managers in my team. I find that a lot of my work is collaborative, which I really enjoy. A lot of the code often needs coordination between front end and back end development, so it’s quite normal for us to jump onto calls to show how one side of the codebase works, and how the other side should tie up their end. It can also be that I have calls with other front end developers in the team for us to share ideas, check each other’s code and share best practices. I love working and collaborating with my teammates, it really feels like I have picked up a lot of knowledge from their experiences and feedback in my time with them!

My working day can also involve having calls with our clients. Similar to standups, I may update the client on work I have done on their websites, feeding back progress that has been made, usually in a more non-technical way. I also can offer insights, estimations, findings or recommendations to questions or queries they may have, from a front end perspective. I really enjoy these calls, and can feel my contributions are valued by both my colleagues and clients.

My work is hybrid, with me currently working from home four days a week, popping into the office once a week. I didn’t really think this would matter much, but I really enjoy working from home, as this means I get a much better work-life balance: I get more time to spend on cooking, exercising, reading, being with my pets, and a lot less time commuting (or having to get up really early)!
3 guinea pigs
My guinea pigs: Dolly, Dixie and Danni
There are a lot of things I enjoy about my job and career. I work alongside great teams of people, and enjoy working with other developers. I also like that I feel I’m making a difference and making great progress and contributions in my work, solving problems and seeing tangible results from my efforts. There are also a lot of opportunities for people to work on different projects and areas quickly, which means a lot of different skills, technologies and stacks being explored, used and experienced. But I think what I enjoy most is the fact that my work keeps me constantly learning new things. I love learning and exploring new things in the world of development, and my job allows me to explore a great breadth and depth of tech, be it the latest React updates, TypeScript, Next.js, or even 3D-modelling with Blender and Three.js.

The culture of my workplace is a very fun, modern, forward-thinking atmosphere. A lot of emphasis is placed on teamwork and collaboration - you never feel like you’re left alone to work things out, but instead have plenty of colleagues to team up with. There are also lots of opportunities to learn more beyond the scope of your role, be it other technology stacks or business roles. Lots of opportunities certainly exist for those who want to work towards them!

Going from graduating at Command Shift to starting my new career as a developer felt like a very natural progression. The course equipped me with so many skills that I use every single day in my job, from the programming principles such as keeping code simple, avoiding repetition in code, and separation of concerns, to the technological skills and stacks of HTML, CSS, Sass/SCSS, React, JavaScript, testing, back end databases, and understanding how to tie the front and back end code together.

Beyond that, the course also prepared me with a lot of soft skills that are needed in web development. Communication with others in standups, collaborating with other developers in our final projects, understanding how to research and use documentation are all key skills that I built throughout my time at Command Shift, and are utilised in my job every day. The course really prepares you for a career of learning, which is essential when working in development to keep up with the newest, upcoming technology in web and software development!

Command Shift also really helped me in securing my role. Working through the course gives you a solid portfolio of projects that you can proudly show when applying for jobs - I certainly wouldn’t have known how to accumulate such a portfolio without them! Also, Alice, the careers coach, was very helpful in checking my CV and cover letters, helping me improve and edit them until they were ready to be sent to prospective employers. As someone who hadn’t had to write a CV in a very long time (they’re not often used in the world of teaching..!), the calls and help I received from Alice were invaluable!

The Lunch and Learn talks that Command Shift hold with different tech companies are also fascinating. In fact, I managed to land my current job through watching one that was arranged by the Command Shift team - they often highlight upcoming developer roles the company has, and they are keen to see Command Shift students applying for them. I would strongly recommend prospective students to engage with as much content and opportunities that Command Shift provides as you can!

All in all, I can say I’m very happy and proud of how my life has changed since starting the course in February of last year, and I am very excited for how my career will progress - thanks Command Shift!

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