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From Placement to Head of Digital (part 3): -webkit-transition to Junior Front End Developer

Last week I talked about my experience while on placement and balancing uni and work for my final year. This week I’m going to tell you about how I got my first “proper” job, what it entailed and some of the great things I learnt.

Wohoo! I’m a Graduate.

The end of my final year quickly approached, as I mentioned last week my time at Fantastic really improved my planning and time keeping skills so all my projects were done, my dissertation was written and I was ready to graduate. Being prepared and not having to rush around freed me up to start thinking about what’s next? Do I want to go travelling? How about running off to join the circus? I love my luxuries so travelling and slumming it in hostels for a year was not an option and my juggling skills are poor to say the least so that’s the circus out of the window!

I knew I wanted to work and push on with my career and after enjoying my placement and learning so much I knew Fantastic was where I wanted to be. I still wasn’t sure whether Fantastic wanted me, so again it was time to have a grown up conversation with the boss man. Before going in to speak with @FantasticAndy I thought about what skills I wanted to learn and what my role should be. After final year my love for web design and development was ever growing so I knew I wanted my role to be around that area. I also thought about what Fantastic actually needed and at that point I thought it would be best to talk to @FantasticAndy and get his thoughts.

It can be really intimidating talking to your boss about your career, especially just coming out of uni. There’s always the fear of “what if we have completely different ideas on what I should be doing” or even worse they don’t want me to stay. Straight away he reassured me that there was a place for me and we started to discuss what that place was. At the time web design was done by the graphic designers then passed on to the developers – there was no in between. Out of that discussions we agreed that’s where I could be an asset. After graduation I signed my new contract and there I was, a Junior Front End Developer.

What’s a Junior Front End Developer?

I know a few “Front End Developers” and when I ask them what they do each gives a completely different answer.  For me it was a huge mix which was brilliant, I was able to learn front end but I also got to dip my toe in other things.

I worked on everything from small site updates to full mini sites and even started to play around with our bespoke e-commerce solution Sirius. Over this time I realised I didn’t want to be just front or back end, I liked everything and wanted to be able to do everything. Because of this I quickly learnt not to let my job title restrict what I learned and more than that, not to use it as an excuse not to do things.

Conclusion

Over my time at Fantastic the most beneficial thing I’ve learnt is to diversify. I am finding the gap between front and back end developers shrinking, especially in an agency environment. We work on so many different projects that having people who are able to jump on to any are invaluable to us. Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone and try something new and that doesn’t just go for developers or designers, everyone should be looking in to new techniques and new ways of thinking. If you want to progress your career look in to skills that will benefit your company not just yourself.

Here at Fantastic we are always looking for talented individuals to join our growing team. If you would like to work with us, send your CV and portfolio site to digital@fantasticmedia.co.uk.

Takeaways

  • Ask yourself three questions – What do you want to do? What do you want to learn? Where do you want to do it?
  • Don’t be afraid to discuss your future / career with your seniors
  • Think about what your company needs as well as what you want
  • Don’t let your job title restrict what you do and learn
  • Become indispensable by being able to jump on to any project

Next Week

Next week I will be talking about branching out and setting myself goals outside of work that ultimately help me improve in work whether that be technical or personal growth.

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Director at Fantastic Media working on everything from UX and CRO to e-commerce and digital strategy. My design and development centres around the users experience and making sure everything we do has a goal and a measurement of success.

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