In our series of interviews and online films, you’ll meet lots of different people with lots of different jobs! This week, we thought we’d find out how Mark, the First News coding guru, makes our websites work.
What I do
I’m a web developer and look after the technical aspects of our various websites, including First News Live! (live.firstnews.co.uk). My job involves coding new features, maintaining existing code and servers, and making sure everything runs smoothly.
How I got my job
I first built my own sites for fun, by figuring out how other sites work. Since then I’ve worked for charities, research organisations and IT companies. I’ve even worked with rock stars!
What I love about my job
I enjoy digging into technical problems to find the right solution. This could be anything from diagnosing a bug in code that is stopping an entire system from operating, to using analytics and tracking to find out why people aren’t going from one page to another like we thought they would.
What’s difficult about my job
Keeping on top of new technologies can be quite daunting, as companies always want people who know the latest and coolest tech. Also, figuring out the best way to tackle a complex problem can involve a lot of research, meetings, and testing.
What skills I need
You need to be able to think logically and understand complex problems. You also need to explain the problem and solution to colleagues or clients. Good communication skills are often overlooked when it comes to programmers, but they’re really important, as often you’ll be speaking to people who aren’t from a technical background.
Being good at maths will help if you want to do advanced programming, but if you prefer the creative side, there are those kinds of roles in web development, too.
Where young people should start if they want to do the job, too
There are free courses online that can teach you the basics. From there you can decide what kind of developer you’d like to be, or what languages you find the most fun. Think about something – a website or a tool – that you’d use yourself, and think about how to build it. From that you’ll develop the skills that will come in handy in the future.
How my job could change in the future
As phones and tablets become even more popular, and people stop using desktop computers as much, there’ll be new languages or tools that make things faster and geared towards smaller screens.