Sat here in a reflective mood, in a crisp, white studio surrounded by iMacs with company logos adorning the walls, I find myself wondering what the world thinks a good web developer should be able to do.
As comfortable as you may be in your job role, knowing exactly what you have to do and nailing it down every single day perhaps, it’s important to remember that the world around you is constantly changing and opinions on what makes someone effective at something, can change at day’s notice. As developers, be it for apps, games or the web, this couldn’t be more true. We are at the forefront of change in the digital world, with an ever increasing demand for better, faster tech and such an emphasis on compatibility, making everything as accessible as possible to the masses.
Many people’s initial reaction may sway towards technical abilities. Of course, as is true with most professions, technical ability is a prized asset and something that everyone wants to sell on their CVs. However, as everything becomes more easily accessible, gone are the days where we’d be sitting at a desk coding all day. The most memorable thing I learned at university some years ago, was that you don’t have to do anything from scratch. The exact quote being “You don’t have to build a word processor before you write a document” – Nothing is done completely from the base up these days. As much as I still love dabbling with HTML and CSS and coding directly, for a while now there have been better platforms to put together a more effective end product.
More and more are we seeing easier ways to kick-start a website, or use a filter to enhance the perfect picture. The savvy professional will have a curious nature and a lust to learn. In an ever-changing environment this is key to keeping pace, but also learning new ways and methods and trying different platforms on which to build will add to your arsenal, the end goal being to constantly build things more effective and efficiently, constantly more quickly saving time. After all, time is money…
This willingness to change and continuously keep learning then folds into being adaptable, not just to the nature of the industry, but also to potential customers and current clients alike. These abilities will need to be met with patience. I don’t know how most feel during crucial phases of a project like testing, but when things don’t quite go to plan, sometimes deep breaths are required! So what else do we need to throw into the mix? A dash of creativity perhaps? This is something that can’t be taught, although not always essential these days, but creative input will fuel inspiring and eye-catching designs resulting in a product that everyone can be proud of and a quality addition to the portfolio.
Adaptability, patience and creative flare marry up well to be able to look after a clients needs, for the end product at least, but the process of being able to set out design criteria and goals for what the end product must achieve is key to getting started on a new project with someone. All of the above doesn’t matter here, if you can’t appeal to a potential client as a person, be helpful and enthusiastic, CVs and portfolios won’t even come into it. Personally, having dabbled in different professions and industries, (everything from building sites to restaurant kitchens), before pushing on with a career as a digital designer and developer as I always wanted, I’ve realised that one thing stays distinctly true throughout – Relationships bring in more business. Good customer service will see a company keep it’s customers or at least gain return custom. This will then have a chance to branch out and develop relationships and recommendations all building up a reputation. When there are so many people and companies out there competing for business it’s often easy to lose sight of the most important factor which is the one parting with their money – the customer.