James Loveridge – Software Engineer

25+13 & 5½

Yesterday I added another year's experience of being 25 with a mental age of 5½. So this is bit of a reflective note this week based on the last five years that I've been doing professionally.

To start with, 5 years ago, I was predominantly a front end developer, and to an extent, only specialised in doing HTML and CSS (eventually with Sass as well). I was really adamant that I would not do any JavaScript as I believed in that a lot of things could be achieved with HTML/CSS on its own or with a CMS like WordPress or others. That kind of mindset is admirable even today, I can see that there were drawbacks to that approach. Deciding early on that JavaScript was not a good thing to learn was possibly not a great move on my behalf.

After completing the Masters' at University of Greenwich, I learnt the value of networking with people in the same industry as me. This was massively valuable as after following a few developers, I came across a retweet which showed me a job opportunity at the Financial Times. It was an internship position, and I felt it was a good opportunity and that I could use that opportunity to learn from other developers, as apart from the Masters' I had not a lot of opportunities to work with other developers. This would allow me to learn from them outside of reading about their experiences when they wrote about it online.

Working in the Origami team at the FT for 3 months, was massively invaluable to me. I learnt a lot, and will always be grateful to the developers in Origami at the time. I was exposed to what was considered to be the way of doing things, and experimenting with things were not frowned upon, but encouraged as it would provide a learning experience. As the short-term contract ended, I went to a web agency where I would learn a lot about WordPress, client and time management. There were a lot of lessons learnt at this job, and I'm grateful for those lessons as well. I feel that I'm more well rounded as a front end developer at the end of my time there.

Fast forward 2 years later, I was given the opportunity to work at the FT again, but as a permanent employee, and I feel it is the place where I have found myself growing as a person and as a professional the most for the last year and half. Following a recent discussion with a principal engineer who also is a mentor to me, she has pointed out that if I looked back to day 1 of the job and to now, I'd realise that I've grown exponentially in a lot of areas, I will always be grateful to all of the Internal Products folks for allowing me this opportunity and to grow as a person as well.

The biggest gotcha for me in the last 5 years is this… how much I love working with JavaScript daily compared to back in 2015! Until then 👋

6 March 2020
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