Jared Wheatley

Falling in love with programming again..

I recently found myself within my own instance of groundhog day, where every day felt the same and nothing was changing. A full pipeline ensured stressful weeks where the weekend couldn’t last long enough and no room for personal development.

So what was wrong?

When I first started development as an apprentice – the story was the opposite. I was learning new concepts and ways of conquering new tasks multiple times a day; I felt supported by the company around me – if I needed anything to help or aid me, I would just ask and it would be granted, If I felt that we were going about something the wrong way – it would be up for review/discussion, and I loved my job.

I've always been a character that when engaged and interested in something - I can focus and give it 200% effort at all times - which didn’t help me when I was sat in the geography classroom at school, I assure you. However whilst on the runs of being able to advance myself technically, learn new things or even teach others, this was something that I was able to use to my advantage.

if (!learning && !progressing) {
    makeChange();
}

As I progressed through my apprenticeship and into a full time role however – the windows of learning all but disappeared and slowly I was disengaged, told that we couldn’t look at other options because we don’t have the skills to use different/better solutions as the projects had to keep moving and the money had to keep coming – even though the turnout of these projects may not have been what they could've.

Making a change

This led to me slowly pulling my teeth out until I made the decision to move to a different role – to a company that seemed to have all of the charm that I was missing – developers who are constantly looking at new solutions to give clients the best, a team that is working hard to reap the rewards as a team, and the opportunity – as what would be the first windows developer within the business, to push further in the future than just being a dev within the team; running my own projects/a future team as I expand not just technically but as a person.

After a long 3 month notice period I arrived at Langley Foxall more eager than ever to grow as a developer, a person and to succeed as a team.

So – what have my first few weeks here been like?

The first week was spent looking through some legacy projects/contractor work that we had been given from various companies that we will be working with in the future, and already I had noticed huge changes in the way that the company was run – moving from a company size of 200+ to 10< was a much bigger change than I initially expected. The real sense that the team is all pulling weight for each other to succeed was solidified by early starts, late finishes; quick lunch breaks that we take as a team before jumping back into the work.

'The team is pulling weight for each other to succeed'

The second week followed up with looking at a potential project that the iOS guys had taken care of – but the client wanted the follow up apps on different platforms. It looked fairly basic, almost like it could be taken care of within a Cross-Platform framework.. However this gave me flashbacks of working with Xamarin forms - something that had plagued my previous workplace. After voicing this to Nick – we looked at different solutions.

Following this discussion – there were a few contenders for frameworks that push out applications to the relative platforms from one code base, but none of them aligned with my current skillset of C# and WinRT applications. Thinking that this was going to end up in the same situation as last time – Nick made the decision that we would work with Ionic 2, a web based framework that sits on top of Angular 2 in order to develop cross platform mobile applications. Listening to this I assumed that the project would be pushed off to Alex – the main web developer here who has experience with Angular 2 already.

This wasn’t to be the case, however! I was asked whether I would be interested in learning and working with Angular, typescript and Ionic to take this project on, which I gladly accepted – being given the time to work and learn new frameworks and languages had been unheard of for two years prior to this discussion.

'Being given the time to work and learn new frameworks and languages had been unheard of for two years prior to this discussion'

Since then I had been putting in all the time I could at home and at work in order to take the opportunity I had been given as well as I could – and two weeks into learning, I can say it's been going very well!

Within my short time here I've grown massively as a developer and I have absolutely no doubt this will continue to be the case – there have already been talks about learning some swift with the iOS guys in order to support projects and I'm just as excited for when that comes around as I am currently.

The team here have been absolutely great at including me from the get-go in the team's culture – I was even told to ensure I had Left 4 Dead 2 installed on my newly built PC by lunchtime so that we could all play on our break.

Conclusion

In conclusion - I think I missed a path that wasn't made out of stone - where things are up for debate and the way things are achieved can be altered or changed. I've been able to fall in love with programming all over again – it's become interesting and as fun as it used to be, and words can't explain how excited I am to progress into the future with this team.