In our series of finding more about people and their jobs we interviewed a web developer and ask him about his job.
Course Feeder (CF): Hi, what is your name and what is your job title?
Richard Dewick (RD): Richard Dewick, owner and director of Makak Media, a web development agency.
CF: How long have you been a web developer?
RD: I’ve been a developer for around about 12 years now (interviewed in 2016) and started my business in 2005.
CF: What made you want to be a web developer?
RD: I started off in the graphic design trade which was very much print led but I could see that the demand for web design was only going to grow.
CF: What relevant web developer qualifications do you hold?
RD: I don’t actually have any specific qualifications as learnt on the job in the early days. But if I was starting over I would definitely take a course in a particular niche market to help speed up the time it takes to reach a decent level of income. I was in a fortunate position when I started out that I could freelance day to day, for some regular income, whilst learning web development at the same time.
CF: How long did it take you to qualify as a web developer?
RD: It took me well over a year self taught to become anywhere near proficient so as I mentioned taking a course would have greatly speeded up the time it took to get to a good pay level.
CF: What qualities do you have that make you a good web developer?
RD: Biggin myself up isn’t very British but if I must I would say the willingness to learn on a daily basis is a must as the industry changes so quickly. Just when you think you might have something sussed a new bit of tech comes along to shed a whole new light on the subject.
I read blog after blog post on a daily basis when I first started out and still try to fit in a few here and there every week just to keep tabs on what’s happening in the industry. I specialise in the Open Source software Drupal which has gone through rapid change over the past 2 years with the advent of Drupal 8. Get yourself on Twitter and follow as many people in your niche as possible.
Being willing to try new things, making mistakes and having the patience to find the best solution to a problem is also a good trait to have. I’ve spent many an hour/day trying different solutions to a problem which is an education in itself.
CF: What does a typical day as a web developer look like for you?
RD: I start at around 6.30-7am when I get up with my daughter, reading through my emails and then jump on to Feedly and Twitter to catch up on news whilst she slowly gathers herself watching Octonauts! The first hour or so of my day in the office is usually handling admin and making sure my team has everything they need and work scheduled in.
I’ll then check my own schedule and get down to work which is quite varied, anything from designing a site to fixing a DNS issue, adding in new functionality to a site to quoting on a new project.
CF: What is the best thing about being a web developer?
RD: I would say being able to work remotely. I work from home mainly but also have a desk at an office in London with an IT firm I partner with. I’ve also worked from the British Library, South Bank, trains, planes and automobiles!
CF: If you weren't a web developer, what would be your dream job and why?
RD: Anything working for myself. I played golf to a good standard in my late teens and had the chance to turn pro so I guess a Tour Pro would be a good shout as I’d still work for myself ;o)
CF: What do you do in your down time?
RD: Family comes first so playing with my daughter or family days out. I also play five aside on a Tuesday night which is a good stress reliever.
CF: For someone looking to be a web developer what advice would you give them?
RD: I would say find a niche market to work in, be it Open Source software such as Drupal or one of the main proprietary systems. I know when recruiting that if someone doesn’t have specific experience with Drupal they will go to the bottom of the pile as the devil is in the detail. If you don’t have knowledge of a specific piece of software then you’re at a disadvantage.
Get yourself on to a Drupal course as there’s a shortage of developers in the community and you’ll be a step ahead of a lot of people!
CF: What other jobs have you had in the past?
RD: Assistant golf pro and graphics artworker/designer.
CF: How does being a web developer compare to your previous jobs?
RD: It’s much more varied and fun, keeping you on your toes constantly!
CF: Thank you for your time Richard and we wish you all the best in your choosen career.
For more information about Richard Dewick and his web developing business please visit www.makakmedia.co.uk.