What was your first job and what led you to where you are now?
I worked in supermarkets during uni, and then as a barista. The coffee-making skills have come in handy during lockdown!
As for tech, I went to a boot camp here in Edinburgh and got my first coding job with a startup called e.fundamentals. After that, I met Aveni’s CTO Mark and started working here!
Tell us in your own words, what does a full stack developer do?
A lot of googling, and a lot of copy-pasting. I’m only half-joking. As a dev, you’re constantly trying to solve technical problems. The great thing about the coding community, open-source resources, and the internet itself, is that someone somewhere has probably solved those problems before. So a good full stack developer will know where to look and know when to copy.
It was quite a revelation for me actually. Like your question, all through school and uni we’re told to put things in our own words. That’s exactly the opposite of what I do now. If I have to write some code from scratch, I’ve done something wrong!
What is a day in the life of a developer like?
This year most of my life has revolved around my work and my dog. There hasn’t been much else to do! Typically I’ll start working around 9 but we’re very flexible with hours. I’ll have a morning meeting with the whole dev team and then usually work with one of my colleagues (“pairing” as we call it) for a couple of hours. At lunch, I’ll walk my almost-year-old dog Parsnip. It’s great to get outside as my commute now consists of walking from my bedroom to my living room…
After lunch, it’s usually more pairing. I rarely work alone. The idea of a lone developer coding in a dark room is a bit of a myth. Post-work my fiance and I like to work out, again in the living room, to try and fight off any covid weight. Then it’s the chill time!
How do you grow and get better as a developer?
Mainly by following along to tutorials and online courses. I haven’t read a developer book in a long time. Seeing code written on physical paper weirds me out a little. The best way I learn is by just doing it. Coding along to videos or building little side projects of my own.
What’s it like working for a startup? What are you most excited about as you grow in your role at Aveni?
I love being involved in early architectural decisions. The choice of tech the company uses has such an effect on my day to day work that it’s great to be there at the beginning to influence things. I also really enjoy the variety of work you get at a startup. We don’t have any silos – no dedicated front end developers or testers or data scientists – everyone has to get their hands dirty with a bit of everything. It definitely keeps things interesting!
Would you rather Shark dive, bungee jump, or skydive and why?
Can I say none? I’m the opposite of an adrenaline junky and I hate feeling scared! But if I had to pick I’d choose shark diving as I have my PADI scuba diving licence.
Where are some of your favourite spots in Edinburgh and where would you recommend to someone who is visiting the city for the first time?
Right now with the way the world is I couldn’t in good conscious recommend anywhere inside. I try to follow the Japanese government’s advice of avoiding the three Cs: closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.
Saying that everyone who visits Edinburgh now or in a more normal time should go up to Arthur’s Seat. I can’t think of another city that has such a big hill, in a large park, in the middle of a busy neighbourhood. It’s a relatively easy walk, roughly 30 minutes to the top, and the views over the city are really beautiful!
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