Now that I’m looking for a new role in web development, here’re some thoughts on the types of organisations I’ve worked with over the years.
I’ve worked in a fair few different environments over the years, from corporate to agency and freelance. Each unique, with their own set of business and organisational challenges–not just the technical site of things–and their own solutions for those challenges.
I’ve had a few fairly long stints in corporate (or corporate-light) environments covering for almost a decade of dev time. I honed skills in process, standards, requirements gathering. All solid take-aways that are part of every project I’ve worked on since. As a sometimes-freelancer on the side, the most frustrating aspect of these larger organisations has sometimes been speed of delivery. Even within the framework of Agile process, once a project is rolling, pragmatism quickly wains, change is not really encouraged, and they often roll and roll for a long time. Meanwhile, this business moves fast. Blink and the flavour of the week technology is… what is that thing? As a freelancer, you often own the technology stack and delivery. Because you own the agency of change, you can change. Experimentation is built in, if you let it.
For a subsequent role, I quite deliberately approached a digital agency. I wanted to step outside those somewhat walled environments.
I was lucky enough to step into a lead role at a lovely digital agency in Leith. It was everything I needed: a fluid environment of fast moving projects (for the most), each project a new opportunity to improve on approach and technology and apply Agile techniques, introduce standards and work with fantastic clients.
Teamwork is everything when deadlines and looming and the client is eager.
Aside from that great portfolio of clients (the good, bad, and ugly, but always something to learn) and technology stacks, the biggest take-away from working in an agency environment was the team. I’ve worked with some brilliant people over the years, but for the first time I discovered the teamwork sweet-spot: cross-discipline, client focused, delivery focused and pragmatic. Teamwork is everything when deadlines and looming and the client is eager. The trend to compartmentalise, to specialise too far–something I saw time and again in larger companies–always felt somewhat broken. A developer is not only a developer. A designer is not only a designer.
So, the logical next question is: would I take a role corporate environment again? The answer is: of course. The chance to take the learning’s from digital agency work back into that sort of environment also also attractive.
So here I am again, after 3 amazing years, looking for a change.
So here I am again, after 3 amazing years, looking for a change. It appears many larger companies have learned some of the above and run “internal startups”, perhaps a best-of-both-worlds, and attractive. Edinburgh has a fantastic start-up scene too. I’ve been really lucky over the past week to meet some fantastic teams across the city and it’s exciting. It’s refreshing.
Lets see where this goes.
Looking for a web developer? My LinkedIn profile is here.
Update, October 2017:
After a few weeks hunting around, Cally from fashion start-up Mallzee pinged me. A really fun crew with a fantastic app, looking for a front end developer, like me. After a few visits to their office, I’m pleased to say I’m now part of team Mallzee building front end for fashion webapps and dashboards… and who knows what in the future. Exciting role in a vibrant company.