Developer Q&A with Elliot Reed

Our Midlands recruiter Leah Cottham recently caught up with Elliot Reed, Software Developer at Bunches to find out all about the “day in the life of” a developer, his journey into software development and advice for people looking to get into this field!

What is your typical working day?

At Bunches we’re lucky enough to have rather flexible working hours, so I’ve forced myself to become an early riser! When I get in around 7am I normally review any pull requests from the day before – we treat all code as that which should be reviewed by all developers, but especially the junior developers as if they can’t easily understand it, then we’ve probably written poor quality code! I also check our logs from the night before to make sure nothing untoward has occurred and respond to any emails.

At around 9am – 9:30am we have our daily standup. Then I will typically continue working on whatever task I’m on, often pairing with another developer or “mobbing” with the team if it’s a task we think we can all learn from or contribute to. On Fridays we have time to pursue areas of interest – learning a new language, framework, or tool, or trying out some whacky idea!

What is the best aspect of your job role?

The best aspect of the role has to be the team itself, and the company as a whole. We’re a close-knit team who are all good friends, and this expands to the company at all levels – it’s really great when you look forward to going to work and seeing everyone!

How did you get into this field?

Oddly it was something I never intended. At University I was firmly in the humanities field, then went on to study law. I ended up being part-owner in an online retail business shortly after graduating, and began by writing a simple Bash script on a Raspberry Pi to speed up some elements of the business – that later lead on to using Python, PHP, Javascript, and a few other languages. I then decided I wanted to go full-time into development so joined a global online retailer in Leicester as their Head of IT. Wanting something closer to home in Nottingham I joined the Bunches’ development team where I’ve been very happy ever since – there’s a close attention paid to clean software and architecture, with a strong focus on Agile processes and software craftmanship.

Do you have any advice for someone who is starting in this sector?

Enjoy it and practice it! Software development is a weird industry: most of it is self-taught, or at least taught on the job – even if you’ve studied Computer Science at University; it’s entirely unregulated – no-one is telling you your code must be of a certain standard, and this places all the onus on you! Watch Youtube videos on clean code, SOLID design principles, design patterns, etc., your code will be judged by those who come after! Practice as much as you can – try out some code katas, they’re a great way of getting yourself into TDD (test-driven development), and will get you comfortable with a language so you can focus on the problem, not the syntax (see here for some starter examples of code katas).

Finally what is your favourite programming language?

A difficult one! I’m still very much ecommerce-orientated, so PHP is the obvious choice for this – now PHP has become much more of an API language, rather than used as a frontend templating engine, it’s pretty powerful and quick to implement features in, and very easy to use TDD in, and many of my gripes with the language have been appeased in version 7+. Go is promising in this aspect too. Everyone ends up knowing JavaScript – nowadays it’s more about your preferred framework (hint: React!). Python is great for microservices.

For more updates from Elliot Reed make sure to follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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