My development story started in 2008 when I was playing an embarrassing online gangster themed RPG. Users had the ability to jazz up their profiles with BB Codes. BB Codes were a very basic form of coding, which allowed you to change text colours, add borders, underlines etc. I thought it was really cool that I could write some code and it would transform text and images to look different!
I was hooked. From there I started to learn very basic HTML and CSS. I was building little pages and constantly learning new things, but I had no idea that I could make a job of it. I continued along the path of becoming a designer, eventually studying graphic design at the University of Huddersfield, achieving a 2:1 degree in Graphic Design. After leaving University I managed to land a contract as a junior designer at Formisimo, a form analytics platform based in Manchester.
After a few weeks, the team learnt that I was fairly competent in HTML & CSS, and put me to work. Before long I was building landing pages, dashboards, email templates (I would soon learn that I hate email templates), and anything else that the team required. I developed my web development skills massively at Formismo, and owe this to the amazing team that I had mentoring me. I remember the day that I learned about media queries, it was like a whole new dimension of web development had opened before me.
Rather than mope around and moan, I scoured the internet for jobs. After a few interviews I had a couple of offers on the table. One of the offers was from a fast paced, SEO focused marketing agency in Leeds City Centre - Blueclaw. The team was much smaller than I was used to, but we had a lot of freedom to choose the tech stack for each project, which meant we were able to learn on the job. We also had a fantastic development manager, who to this day I still regard as being the best manager I've ever had. She helped me through some tough times after being made redundant.
I loved Blueclaw. The people were great. We had lots of freedom. We were based in the City Centre, so the socials were fantastic and the opportunity to learn on the job was something that I hadn't really experienced before. Two years after starting there however, I did start to get itchy feet. The work we were doing was really interesting, but I felt like it was a little bit niche. We were building content campaigns, landing pages and interactive web pieces for clients all over the world - but we weren't building any full stack websites. I wanted to work with CMSs and build full stack solutions for clients, so I made the hard decision to leave, and an offer from Digitronix landed in my lap.
The offer seemed too good to be true, and maybe it was. My time as Digitronix was varied. I worked in a very small team of designers, and I was the only developer there. I was promised that a small development team would be built around me and that we were going to push to be a big part of the digital scene in Leeds. Unfortunately, that never really came to fruition. The designers that I worked with were really talented, and I was building some pretty exciting projects, but we were hampered by poorly managed timelines and over promised projects. The social side of Digitronix was great - we were all around the same age, and most of my colleagues are still good friends of mine to this day. Another two years had passed, and none of what I was promised seemed to be happening, so I made the choice again to leave. I contacted a recruiter, and waited to see what was on the table.
The best offer I got was from Home Agency. Home are one of the biggest marketing agencies in the North of England, and work with some huge clients all over the world, so I jumped at the chance to work there. The team was larger than I had ever worked with before, and they were organised. We knew which tech stacks we wanted to work with, and we had very clear and strict coding guidelines, which made us fantastically diligent when it came to writing code. I worked on some amazing projects, and had a great time while doing it. Again, the social side was amazing, and my colleagues were all great for the most part. I had a great manager who listened to me and my opinions, and we were able to get involved in fairly high level conversations about tech solutions - I loved it, and I had no intention of leaving.
And thats where we are so far. I've been working at Sky for about 6 weeks now, and I'm loving every minute of it. The team are great, and I'm looking forward to getting into the office and meeting everybody. I'll try and do some regular career updates so keep your eyes peeled!