DEPT® LIFE: Technical Architect
Meet Chris, Technical Architect at DEPT®.
10 years in, he’s practically part of the furniture. Here he tells us all about his DEPT® LIFE and why he’s stuck around for a decade.
Name: Chris Eccles
Role: Technical Architect
Time at DEPT®: 10 years
Years in the industry: 12 years
About me: I was a keen rugby player until my ankle gave up. Now have to make do with cycling.
A brief history of me
I studied Computer Science at Cardiff University and after graduating, I started my career in PHP development with an in-house development team.
I joined DEPT® over 10 years ago, starting out as a junior in the Service Delivery Support team, which is now known as Deliver Operation Service (DOS). Since then, I’ve had quite the journey, moving up to Junior Developer (.Net), then gradually to Technical Architect, four promotions later.
Life as a Technical Architect
I work on DEPT®’s client projects all the way through the lifecycle. That means I’ll get involved with the initial workshops help define the client’s requirements, develop technical specifications and proofs of concept to demonstrate how DEPT® can help solve their challenges; as well as architect the final product.
The primary part of my role is to lead the development teams that are delivering projects, supporting both front and back-end developers to resolve any technical blockers as quickly as possible. This could be anything that’s stopping them from completing their work, such as hard to replicate bugs or issues with external services. But I also get to collaborate with the wider team, working with designers to ensure the developers have all the creative assets they need to effectively build, and with QA (quality assurance) to ensure the objectives are met and the output quality meets our standards before delivering projects to clients.
A typical working day
I like to start my day bright and early. I set aside focus time in the morning to get through large documentation. This might include writing technical specifications for projects, writing up findings of a POC or prepping for a client workshop. Then I have a series of short ‘stand up’ meetings to get an update on project progression before cracking on with my own project actions throughout the rest of the day.
Developing POCs is one of the highlights for me. It’s about testing technical methodologies and approaches to give ourselves, and our clients, 100% confidence in how it should be delivered to achieve the best results. For example, I recently investigated ways to use Optimizely as a headless solution and set up visual regression testing to assess its effectiveness for a project.
I tend to work from home most days, so the vast majority of my collaboration and communication with project teams is done via Slack and Google Meet, but it’s great to also have days in the office and catch up with everyone. DEPT®’s flexible working policy suits me really well as I had my second child at the start of the pandemic, and I’m able to maintain a strong work-life balance.
The amazing range of projects and technologies I get to work on is what I love most about working at DEPT®.
Room to grow
As DEPT® is such a large agency, there is so much opportunity to learn from others’ experiences and get a different perspective on matters. The team specialises in so many different disciplines, which is great to have access to. For example, the front-end team have much more experience in React than I do, but it’s great to combine their knowledge with my expertise in back-end systems to deliver optimal, full-stack experiences for clients.
I love that I am constantly working on new technologies and have the time and space to do POC work for innovative new projects coming into the business. Digital technology moves so quickly, and it’s imperative to keep up, which we have the capacity to do at DEPT®.
When I started at DEPT® I had only ever worked in Java and PHP. Now, 10 years on, I’ve worked on CMS technologies like SDL Tridion, Sitecore and Optimizely, amongst multiple others. As well as working with different languages such as .NET, SQL, Razor, React and Angular as well as front end frameworks like Next.JS and Razzle.
I’m thankful to DEPT® for always giving me the opportunity to dedicate time for training and develop new skills, in turn helping me to learn and grow constantly. Also, a big shout out to the amazing colleagues and mentors I’ve had over the years!
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