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My first two weeks as a developer

I’m already about to start my third week at Shift, and I’m loving it! A few people’ve asked me to write a little post about what’s been going on, so here are some general thoughts and experiences I’ve had during my time working so far.

First thing: I am so glad I chose to work at a startup! In the process of interviewing after hackeryou, I met with a bunch of awesome companies, mostly agencies of varying sizes and types. Shift was the only “startup” (well..depending on how you want to define startup) I interviewed with. Since my 2 year plan was to end up at a startup, I consider myself lucky to have been at the right place (twitter) at the right time and gotten in touch with these guys. As a result I’m already ahead on my life plans as far as my job is concerned, so that’s the first huge bonus.

So on my first day I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I was going in to a completely different profession, doing totally different things, for a different company. Of course I’d had lots of great advice at hackeryou and from my friends, but at the end of the day everyone’s experience is different, so I definitely felt like I was going in blind. Most of my first day was meeting the team and setting up my development environment, but by the end of the day I had started on the work that I’ll be doing for awhile.

There’ve been a lot of firsts over the past couple of weeks, one of which is working in an agile development environment. There’s some terminology to learn, but really it’s pretty simple, and I’m loving having my work for the next two weeks set, so I know exactly what’s needed, what’s expected of me, and how far along I am in that process at any given time.

On the tech side of things, I’m working primarily with flexbox right now – we’re rebuilding the entire application, and for me currently that means taking previous Bootstrap html+css and rewriting it using flexbox, refactoring as best as I can along the way. We also do our styling in Less, so I had to learn that as well (I knew SASS before so this wasn’t a big deal – although so far I’m not using anything too complex). Right now I have to strike a somewhat difficult balance between making necessary changes, but not going too crazy on said changes because I’m not familiar enough with the code base and the app, but that’ll come with time.

I love the people I work with, and the position of a front-end dev is so interesting, sort of “living” between the designers and other developers – you get a complete blend of aesthetics/usability/etc. and functionality/code/efficiency that, at least to me, is exactly what I’m looking for. It’s a great gig for generalists who like technology and have an eye for design. You don’t necessarily have to know everything about either side (you never could anyway), but your value (in my opinion, anyway) comes instead from being able to see and understand both sides, which seems to be a fairly unique quality in a person.

Overall, the past two weeks have been great. I’m really looking forward to learning more and getting deeper into things. Speaking of looking forward to things, I’m also going to be giving a talk in August at the consistently awesome Pyladies, on the topic of why developers should encourage their artsy friends to get in to development. I’d love it if you came out! And if you can’t make it, I’m sure I’ll write up some sort of summary of it on here.

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