My Actual Job

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Front End Developer for an E-Commerce Startup

Q1: Where are you located?

A1: I'm based in San Francisco, CA.

Q2: What is your role title?

A2: I'm a Front-End Web Developer.

Q3: In your words, describe what you actually do?

A3: As a front-end developer, I write HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code to build the user-facing portions of websites and web applications. I take mockups from designers and turn them into functional, interactive web pages. I also optimize sites for performance, accessibility, and responsive design across desktop and mobile.

Q4: How long have you been doing this role for?

A4: I've been working as a front-end developer for 5 years now. .

Q5: How did you get to this point in your career?

A5: I started learning to code on my own through online courses and tutorials. I then completed a coding bootcamp to gain more comprehensive front-end skills. After the bootcamp, I started in an entry-level developer role and have worked my way up to mid-level over the past 5 years through continuous learning and taking on increasing responsibility.

Q6: When it comes to remuneration, what are your three B’s? (Base, Bonus, Benefits?)

A6: My base salary is $120,000. I'm eligible for an annual bonus up to 15% based on company and individual performance. Some of my major benefits are full health/dental/vision insurance, 401k matching, unlimited PTO, and a professional development budget.

Q7: I’m not going to ask you who you work for, but, what industry is your company in?

A7: I work at a startup in the e-commerce industry.

Q8: When it comes to work flexibility, is your work primarily office-based, fully remote, or a mix of both? Which do you prefer? Does your company allow you to be flexible?

A8: My company offers a mix of in-office and remote work. I tend to work from home 2-3 days per week and come into the office the other days for meetings and collaboration. I prefer having the flexibility to do both.

Q9: What does an average week or a typical day look like for you? Can you walk me through your day?

A9: I start around 9 am, prioritize, and prep for meetings. 11 am is our team sales meeting, 12 pm is lunch. 1 pm, I have a 1:1 with my manager, 2 pm touch base with agencies, 4:30 pm connect with the inside sales team. In between meetings, I work on executing campaigns, creating content, managing projects, etc.

Q10: What does a typical day look like when things are going well vs a more challenging/stressful day?

A10: When things are going smoothly, I can make a lot of progress coding new features and my bugs/issues are minor. On more stressful days, I may hit blocking issues that eat up a lot of time debugging. Meetings may also creep into my coding time. I have to work on time management more carefully on those days

Q11: What skills or knowledge are most important for your day-to-day work?

A11: The most important skills are JavaScript, HTML/CSS, debugging, communication and collaboration. A solid grasp of web development best practices and browser compatibility is crucial too.

Q12: What are some examples of recent accomplishments or contributions you've made in this role?

- Led migration of our site to a React-based architecture
- Implemented a new responsive navigation component improving mobile experience
- Contributed to open source by fixing bugs in React libraries we use

Q13: Do you have a supportive manager and do you feel valued?

A13: Yes, I have a great manager who trusts my judgment and provides context on priorities. I feel valued for my contributions and that my growth is important.

Q14: How much time do you spend collaborating with colleagues vs working independently?

A14: I'd say it's a 60/40 split - 60% of my time coding independently and 40% in meetings or collaborating with designers, back-end devs, product managers, etc

Q15: Is there anything you wish you would have known before starting this role?

A15: How often requirements can change. I've learned to embrace change and build flexible, reusable components.

Q16: What do you hate most about your role?

A16: Dealing with browser inconsistencies and compatibility issues can be frustrating at times.

Q17: What do you love most about your role?

A17: I love seeing an idea come to life interactively in the browser. It's very rewarding to build something users can enjoy.

Q18: What’s the next role for you and when do you hope to achieve this?

A18: In the next 2-3 years, I hope to progress to a senior front-end developer role with more responsibility leading projects.

Q19: Is your next role going to be with the same company or a different one?

A19: I'm happy at my current company, so I'd like to continue growing here. But I'm also open to other opportunities.

Q20: What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone who aspires to reach your position?

A20: Never stop learning. Front-end development changes rapidly, so staying up-to-date through side projects, courses, conferences, etc. is critical.

Q21: It’s Day 1 for someone in your role. What one piece of advice would you give them to succeed?

Here are a few pieces of advice I would give to someone starting out as a front-end developer
on Day 1:

– Don’t be afraid to ask questions! It’s always better to ask if you’re unclear on requirements or
approach rather than spending time going down the wrong path. Ask your manager, teammates,
search Google/StackOverflow.

– Familiarize yourself with the codebase and how the different parts fit together. Spend time
reading through documentation and comments in the code to ramp up quicker.

– Make sure you understand task priorities and focus on high impact work first. Check in with
your manager if you need help parsing what’s most important.

– Don’t let yourself get blocked for too long. If you’re stuck on a bug or issue for over 30 mins,
ask for help from teammates. Getting input from others will likely unblock you faster.

– Review style guides and patterns that are already established in the codebase. Follow
consistent conventions in your own code.

– Be proactive in scheduling times to pair program or do code reviews with more experienced
developers. This will help you learn faster.

– Set up your dev environment neatly and personalized to your preferences. This will help you be more productive.

– Try to learn at least one new thing, technique or shortcut each week. Continuously expanding your skills will serve you well in the long-term.

– Ask for feedback frequently. Check if your work is meeting expectations and course correct if needed.

– Don’t neglect soft skills like communication, collaboration and time management. Those are critical for success in any developer role.

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