Support Developer, Alex Bromilow, joined NetConstruct fresh out of university in 2018. Part of the Helpdesk team, Alex works on everyday issues, spanning front-end and back-end development. If you’re thinking about a career in development, learning about Alex’s experience in his first development role at NetConstruct might just help you make that decision.
Tell us a little bit about you?
So, I’m Alex and I came to NetConstruct straight from university where I did a maths degree with modules in computer programming. I actually got the job here about three days before my graduation, so it was straight into work from studying. That was back in July 2018. Out of work, I spend a lot of my free time in performance groups and enjoy doing musical theatre. I’m currently auditioning for the role of Lord Farquaad or Donkey in Shrek the Musical.
What is your role at NetConstruct?
I’m a Support Developer within the Helpdesk team. If any issues arise with client websites and we have maintenance contracts with them, they’ll get in contact with us and we make the changes or fixes that need to be made. My team sometimes get involved in retainer work too but the tickets that come through the Helpdesk are our main priority. It’s a good mixture of front-end and back-end development work.
What value does the Helpdesk team add?
Well, we look after existing client’s website so if they have any issues, that’s where we can help. The team has ongoing communication with the client so we’re kind of the go-to people if anything is needed.
We sometimes work with the back-end developers too. If there’s something that needs doing which I haven’t dealt with before or I’m not too sure how to complete, I can talk to the back-end developers and get their support. As they’re more familiar with the sites and more experienced, they understand where things are and can give advice on what needs doing.
Tell us more about a typical day?
No two days are really the same but usually, I start the day looking through emails clients may have sent through before logging onto our service desk system and working through the tickets. The aim of our ticket system is to ensure we’re responding to clients within eight business hours of them logging a ticket and providing a solution within 3 business days, where possible.
When I work on a ticket, I begin by replicating the issue. If an issue is just on their end, it’s usually a quick fix. If we can recreate it in-house, we’re able to look through the code to identify the problem. If the issue is bigger than that, or if it’s to do with the website page itself, we’ll breakdown the problem to find the issue and resolve it.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really love anything to do with programming and learning how things work behind the scenes. It’s great getting your teeth stuck into a problem. It’s the feeling of working hard to fix something and then when you finally fix it, that’s a brilliant part of the job. There is also a great social side to NetConstruct too which I love.
Which do you prefer, front-end or back-end development?
Honestly, I keep switching! As soon as I think I prefer one, something happens, and it makes me prefer the other again.
Back-end is very methodical and almost like completing a logical puzzle with all the technical extras. You need the website to do something, so you have to implement a number of steps in order to make this happen. I personally find front-end a bit easier, especially now it’s often tied in with back-end by our UI team. UI has essentially bridged the gap between front and back-end development.
I do enjoy both of them though, they’re different but there’s a lot to learn in order to do them well.
Is there anything you’ve found challenging?
How quickly the software we use changes and progresses. To overcome this, I’ve been focusing on training a bit more and trying to pick up as much as possible to make this easier. It’s important to keep up in this industry.
What is your biggest achievement since starting at NetConstruct?
At the moment, my job role revolves around completing tickets for clients which gives me a good overview of different areas of development. But I have recently completed my first piece of quoted work which is quite significant for me. Support from NetConstruct has allowed me to progress in this way and work up to completing this.
Do you have a favourite project you’ve worked on?
It’s hard to choose because we’re involved with many of the websites! The one I’ve worked with the most is Havwoods. Initially, when I began working on any issues with them, many were out of my skill set but this has really helped me evolve my knowledge in certain areas.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone considering a career in development?
Stay on top of system updates, coding languages and software as it’s a rapidly changing industry. Being a developer, especially a junior one, there is always something new to be learning. It’s important to make the most of these opportunities as things can become outdated fast.