Meet Adam Maidment, co-founder and director of March Digital, a company that helps small aspiring businesses build engaging and passionate online experiences. Today he speaks to us about his career path and what it means to be a developer.
Can you give us a brief history of your career as a developer?
It all began at the University of Leicester, with my Computer Science BSc and learning multiple languages including Java, C++, Haskel, Prolog as well as machine architecture, AI, software engineering, data management and compression.
My first role after graduation as a junior web developer included updates to website content in HTML and CSS with graphic design and photography/videography and compression for web. The role was also split between System Administrator role for internal office IT support – networking, hardware support, website access and monitoring and server configuration and maintenance. The split role was useful in understanding the basics of website design and build alongside the server-side skills of setting up and maintaining hosting.
From there, various roles as a Web Developer with increased responsibilities as my skills developed culminated in Head of Digital role at my last agency. The role was strategic, and projects were for large global brands. Typical projects were a mix of small but highly creative campaign websites with fast production and delivery, large complete corporate website projects with technical functionality and non-native mobile and tablet apps. We also built huge amounts of bespoke email campaigns across the breadth of the client portfolio, sending out to millions of subscribers at a time.
Since moving to March, I’ve spent less of my time as an active developer and more in the role of company director as the business naturally dictates, however, the projects we have undertaken have been more technical and less campaign driven. We’ve completed more e-commerce-based projects which include a much higher degree of functionality, data processing and security. We work with a far greater range of platforms and my ‘language agnostic’ stance has widened as we adopt more of the best solution for the client approach.
What are some of the aspects of the job that have changed most since you started out?
Over the last 20 odd years, the biggest change is the specialisation of roles. Back in the early 2000s, the common nomenclature for my skills was ’webmaster’. You would be the designer, developer, SEO expert and IT support guy all in one. Then over the next 10 years, the role split so that those facets become job roles in their own right.
Nowadays, the diversity of specialisation is almost endless depending on the complexity and breadth of work any one company undertakes, but typically you’re now looking at front-end developers, back-end developers, data specialists, UX designers, UI designers, product managers, social media marketers, paid search specialists, organic search specialists and so on.
Which development tools do you find the most effective?
Apart from my brain which does most of the work by thinking through a problem with a mix of experience, knowledge and tenacity, I’d say Visual Studio as an IDE for .Net sites, Brackets for front end and PHP development and PHPStorm as an IDE for PHP. Then for front end workflow, I use Grunt. FileZilla for an FTP client. Sketch for UI/web design. Lastly SourceTree as a git client for BitBucket. There are a dozen or so other little programs I would use on any given day but those would make up the core of my developer toolbox.
How would you describe the root from the point of view of a developer?
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