Life at Dept February 17, 2019
The making of Timothy Alonso – from a Grad to a Senior Developer
How it all began
I was a final year Computer Science student at Salford University drinking my weight in Red Bull. I applied to Dept (formerly Building Blocks) at a careers fair when I heard a rumour that they gave out free cupcakes that turned your tongue blue. Unfortunately, they ran out when I made it to their booth, but ended up liking what they did so I put my name and email down then sent my CV. And the rest is history.
My journey with Dept so far
I started out on the DOS (Digital Operation Services) team where I learned the ropes of how to support global websites using an enterprise CMS and various other technologies. It introduced me to refactoring, frequent release cycles, defined processes and working with legacy code.
Two years later, I got the opportunity to rebuild a web app from scratch. This had a steep learning curve for me personally, especially coming from an environment where process, infrastructure and architecture were well defined. I learned a great deal from this experience, which culminated in a technical workshop with the client in Copenhagen.
I then worked on a series of US projects, spending a week in Boston to sit with counterparts in our US office. I was working on big projects for global clients, and got to travel to New York to meet with them. I was sent to Zaragoza to do a presentation for our Spanish colleagues over tapas, then a day trip to London for a project kick-off. All this introduced me to remote working across multiple locations and time zones, with all the ‘fun’ it entails, maturing me professionally in the process.
Two and a half years and 16 clients later and here we are.
No two days are the same
My day’s always start with a twenty-minute walk to the office (dry weather if I’m lucky, but this is Manchester). Then a cup of black coffee. Then I check Slack and my emails.
The rest of my day all depends on the client. Some days I spend writing code. Some days I sit in meetings and write documentations. Some days I sit with clients and their development team. Some days, I focus on internal stuff. Others, I go to events/meet-ups. Oh, and there was also that one day I spent drunk on a boat to Rotterdam.
A message to all university students…
Get to know the culture and values of the company and see if it fits! Keep an open mind and talk to a range of companies. Ask questions about how they support grads to ensure you’ll be in an environment that will accelerate your progression.
If you want to want to be a Developer, try and find somewhere that will provide a broad range of experience of the software development cycle, or find a business where their core business is in software development. Be open to learning – a degree course can only teach you so much; the most valuable experience often comes from being thrown in at the deep end and figuring it out!
Also, suggest Pizza Friday. You might just get it (we did)!