Continuing our series of ‘Meet the Team’ blogs, here is David our lead Frontend developer. We took him away from his desk to have a chat about work life at SuperCarers.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working at SuperCarers?
The thing I enjoy most about working at SuperCarers is having the opportunity to create something that benefits real people. Since I joined in April 2016 we have worked hard on producing a product that can make a tangible improvement to someone’s life. In other jobs it can sometimes be hard to tell if what you’re making is going to be seen, used or appreciated by the intended audience. At SuperCarers each of the features we release can be directly attributed to helping our customers and carers.
Q: In your experience, what are the biggest technological challenges companies are facing? What are their biggest opportunities?
Right now I believe the biggest technical challenge is bridging the gap between modern technologies and the “average” user. For example, the Internet is still an incredible place and gets more amazing every day. However it can also be difficult to navigate for people who don’t use it constantly. Companies have to work hard to ensure that their technology not only does what they intend, but in a way that the people who will be using it can grasp. If they don’t then it doesn’t matter how amazing the end result is, because nobody will ever reach it.
I think the biggest opportunity is the removal of barriers to creating technical products. Modern day prototyping tools, programming languages and apps are all enabling a more diverse group of people to make their mark on the technological landscape. This increased diversity benefits everyone involved with tech as new ideas and experiences are the lifeblood of creativity. It will always be important that a final product is built to a high standard by trained professionals. But allowing initial explorations to be faster and carried out by people of different demographics and skillsets will have a huge impact on what sorts of technology we produce.
Q: What new tools, languages or frameworks interest you?
Looking forward a little I think everyone involved with the web is curious as to how machine learning will impact everyone’s lives on a day to day basis. An exciting example is in the world of rapid prototyping. AirBnB have recently posted a great piece demonstrating the production of taking a sketch and having AI translate that into a real working interface. https://airbnb.design/sketching-interfaces/- this already looks incredibly cool and is essentially still in the womb as far as tech concepts go.
Q: How do you go about developing a new feature at SuperCarers?
Our approach is very similar to a lot of modern startups. We primarily use an agile methodology. First we identify the next business priority from the product roadmap. Then we break it down into small “cards” that make up the discrete tasks that are required to implement the feature. These cards could range from designing interactions to writing tests for the code and everything in-between. Next we have a sprint planning meeting where as a team we assign difficulty scores to each individual card. Having scores for each card gives us a good idea of how much work we will be able to fit into the next two week sprint based off our previous estimates/man hours available etc. We then pick cards until we have met our expected score total for the sprint and hopefully we’ve included all the cards required to realise the feature. If so then the final step is simply writing all the code (including tests) and hoping it works!
Q: What is your coding pet peeve?
It’s hard to have any particular pet peeves as a developer as if something bothers you then the power to fix it is usually at your fingertips! That said as I gain more experience I find myself having less patience for people who are tied to a single language or technology. I was quite dogmatic in my youth but over time have come round to the opinion that the best piece of technology is the best one for the task at hand. Another of the great things about working at SuperCarers is that we all share that mindset. Being able to work with a diverse range of technologies really makes the work day interesting and enables us all to produce the best product possible.
Q: If you had to swap teams for a week, which one would it be and why?
I obviously think I work on the best team as I chose to be a developer! If I had to swap it would probably be to Marketing. Working on the frontend of the site gives you a lot of exposure to disciplines such as branding and customer experience. Being able to see more of that side of the business from a different perspective would be extremely useful to take back with me. Plus I’m sure other departments could benefit from technical insights in their day to day workflow.
Stay tuned for more interviews with the team here at SuperCarers. If you’re interested in joining us on our mission, check out our open positions here.