Senior Systems Developer, James Tyne, has spent over two decades working in the world of web development. Spending 13 years at his previous agency, James joined NetConstruct a couple of months ago. We took the opportunity to find out a little more about his path as a Developer and even got some words of wisdom for those looking to get started in the industry.
Tell us a little bit about you?
I’ve been in Development for about 20 years now. I started straight from school after completing my A-Levels and didn’t go to university so I’m fully self-taught. I got my first job when I was 18 in tech support, but web was emerging at the time and I quickly got into development as I found it more interesting.
I’ve always predominantly worked in .NET development as it’s the technology that’s used most widely. Although I can work in a broad range of different technologies, my skill strength is definitely in .NET.
Had you previously worked with Umbraco and Kentico before joining NetConstruct?
My previous job was an agency in Leeds. I was there for 13 years and it’s where I gained a lot of my experience and knowledge - they mainly worked in Umbraco. I’d never worked within Kentico before coming here. At the moment, I’m working mainly on Umbraco sites, but I’ve just started a project in Kentico and that’s what I’ll be spending some of my time learning more on.
What is your role in NetConstruct?
I’m a Senior Systems Developer, so I’m on the back-end team. Really, my job role is writing code in the background. So far, I’ve been working mainly on existing clients but a new one has just come on board so the work coming my way has been very varied.
Tell us more about a typical day?
Each day is varied, it could be a completely different project one day to the next, or I could have a few hours scheduled into work on one website and then a few hours to work on another. I really enjoy being busy and it’s good to always have something to get on with. It’s a process-driven agency and I like the way we work and how we always aim to provide high-quality results…this is probably why the agency has a lot of retainer work! Rather than just completing something and throwing it out, we continue to make changes, improvements and build relationships with clients. NetConstruct definitely don’t take the launch and leave approach.
I also work closely with Client Services and the Account Management team. They’re the people working with the clients on their projects every day, so they understand exactly what they’re after. I don’t work with clients face to face very often, but we usually do get involved when there are technicalities to discuss. There are certain elements of guidance we can offer the client, particularly when it comes figuring out whether something can be done and how it should be done. The earlier technical people are involved on a project, the better we can help guide it.
What value do you and your team offer clients?
Most of all, we offer technical expertise. In an agency, you quite often pick up other client’s websites and recovery projects. When you have a lot of experience within a team, like we do here, it means we’re fully equipped to build and maintain websites that don’t just look good but perform well too.
What progression is there available for someone in a development role?
It’s different for each individual really. For me, I enjoy writing code and I’ve never been too interested in the management side of things. I think it’s generally considered that if you want to make good money and excel in Development, you need to be in a management role, but I don’t think that’s true. If you can gain experience over the years and you’re good at what you do, you can go just as far. Obviously, as you gain more experience and seniority, you’ll never escape aspects of mentoring junior developers, but it’s good to be involved in these things and help where possible.
What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to start out in web development?
I’d say just get stuck in. Whether you go to University or decide to begin direct from school, get experience and soak up as much as you can. When I was in sixth form, the choices were very limited. But now, my kids are in school and there are at least two IT courses and a Development course available. It’s advanced so much since when I began, but if they were available when I was younger, I would have definitely made the most of those options.
How does NetConstruct differ to previous agencies you’ve worked with?
The main difference is how busy we are here! When you come from a smaller agency with smaller jobs, you often have a project that you can crack on with for a period of time before moving onto the next one. Here, there is always something to get on with which is actually really nice as there’s nothing worse than having spare time on your hands.
The development team is also much bigger than what I’ve been used to. The team has recently been split into UI and Systems which essentially means front-end development and back-end development. This makes a massive change from when I started in web development. Back then, you were expected to know and do everything. Now, we have a much cleaner and more effective split of skills meaning you’re given the chance to hone your skills and become more specialist in one area.
How do you work across the different teams?
I really enjoy working across the different teams. The Account Managers know their projects inside and out which allows us to focus on exactly what we need to do. It’s just nice being able to work with a group of people who have really specialised skills and know what they’re doing.
Everyone has been great from the start - even during the recruitment process! Going into a new job after 13 years in my previous was quite daunting and you can feel like you’re a bit out of the game. The interviews I had before finding NetConstruct were really formal, but when I came here and firstly spoke to Taryn (Head of Talent Acquisition), it was just a casual chat. I was never made to feel like I had to prove myself because they could see I had a lot of experience and it was nice to be recognised for that. Also, I’ve never been given a gift bag on my first day of work!