36 hours in the life of a Web Developer

My name is Valerie, I am a punctual but funny German living in Amsterdam and I graduated from MA Digital Management in Manchester in 2015. 2 years ago I decided to pivot my career from Digital Marketing to Web Development and I am now writing code for websites at Your Majesty, a full-service design and technology firm in Amsterdam. Welcome to my 36hrs diary.

Monday 9.00

I open the door to the office, being greeted by two things: An amazingly cute dog called Bert and the smell of crispy bacon. Bacon!? At Your Majesty every Monday starts off with a breakfast for the entire team. We talk about our weekend highlights as well as important project and client updates for the upcoming week.

Monday 10.15

We have a daily project stand-up with our team of developers, designers, UX-designers, strategists and the producer. During the stand-up each team member shares their status and escalates potential blockers. We all walk out with knowing our focus for the rest of the day. Today I am going to investigate how to implement a stand-alone campaign page inside our clients’ Content Management System, which isn’t really built for this.

Monday 15.00

After some tinkering with both our clients codebase and content management system (and, surely, some googling), I figure out that we have to create a placeholder-component inside the CMS and then add custom layout and styles from inside the codebase. I run my approach by Kasper, our Technical Director (boss) on the project and we then update the rest of the team via Slack, our internal messaging platform. Now we only need to start writing the code for it…

Tuesday 11.00am

Today I am going to further work on our projects’ campaign page. Our client AWAL is a music label for independent artists and we are building a page that explains how an artist can apply.

To get started I open up the project in my code editor VSCode. Via GitHub, a collaborative coding platform, I can see if any other developer has made updates to the code base and stay in sync. Most of the time I am working with two screens: One screen with my code editor and another screen where I can see the website that I am working on.

Tuesday 16.00

It’s Robotech time! Robotech is our monthly team meeting for all developers at YM. Most of us are working on separate projects and this is a great opportunity to share knowledge and discuss new technologies in an opinionated way (can get heated). Today Abril, one of our creative developers, is going to share what she learnt from building an augmented reality app with Unity for adidas. We also occasionally drink a beer.

Tips For Aspiring Web Developers

Join local tech meetups (find them on meetup.com). They are mostly free and you can meet other developers to ask them about their career path as well as start building a network.

Check out junior web developer job descriptions on eg. LinkedIn or Stack Overflow and list out the hard-skills (technologies) they are asking for. Don’t get scared though because nobody can ever fulfill 100% of what they want (#unicornrecruitment). Create the baseline for what you want to focus your portfolio/projects on.

Build things! Create an account on GitHub and start building a project. If you don’t know what to build, ask your designer friends if they need a website or find open projects online via e.g. https://natureneeds.help

Helpful Links & Resources

CodeNewbie, a podcast about people on their coding journey

The Coding Train, a YouTube channel by Daniel Shiffman who explains basic to advanced concepts of JavaScript in a visual + hilarious way

SyntaxFM, a podcast hosted by two developers who share (and filter!) all important industry updates as well as career and coding tips

If you ever find yourself in Amsterdam, come and join my own Meetup Cafe Robot or follow me on Instagram to learn more about how to geek up your life.