Software developers today need to have the full package of technical skills and teamwork. Headforwards Full Stack Developer Emma Grimes explains.
We’ve recently added Sam Perry to our Meet the Team section – he’s our resident strongman and also boasts extensive knowledge of all things butchery! To learn more about the team and what it’s like to work at Headforwards, browse the profiles – more to come soon! This time we catch up with Headforwards Full Stack Developer, Greg West.
Greg’s love of software development started at a young age; as a child he would sit for hours programming on his Commodore VIC-20 and various other systems.
He’s the proud owner of a self-built gaming PC and plays most nights with online friends he’s known for several decades.
His passion for software development led him to pursue a degree in Computer Science at Exeter University. Soon after graduating he landed his first job, back in Cornwall at what was then Penwith District Council.
“I moved around a bit within the Council as it changed and adopted new technologies,” explains Greg. “I ended up at Cornwall Council where I picked up C# and worked in their inhouse development team.”
Around six years ago, Greg decided he had learned all he could at the Council and set about securing a new role. He was offered the job of Full Stack Developer at Headforwards and has worked in the Special Projects division for several years.
“In the Special Projects team, we’ve worked on a variety of projects and have been using frameworks like Angular and React to build single page applications, and serverless functions to do work on the back end in AWS and Azure.
“We’ve used a diverse range of technologies and focused on fostering a good team knowledge of those applications so that we can share the workload and remain Agile, committing as much or as little resource as is necessary.”
One of Greg’s biggest passions is team collaboration; he has encouraged MOB programming in the Special Projects team and experimented with test-first and other techniques.
“Collaborative working is something that really interests me; a lot of people don’t like it and it can be quite a hindrance or a chore when it’s not helping. In my opinion though, that just makes it all the more important to find the right balance of working together, whilst being able to work individually as well.
“I think people are almost dogmatic about their technologies, considering ‘their’ chosen technology to be the best and wanting everyone to use it. The biggest take away from the collaboration work we’ve done at Headforwards has been that most things are good in moderation. If you find a good thing, you should use it, but don’t go over the top – it’s surprising how many developers do.”
Greg believes the scale of cross-team learning and events at Headforwards plays a crucial role in encouraging its developers to consider other options and entertain other ideas.
“With collaborative programming you talk to other people and experience other views. When you’re forced to discuss what you’re working on it allows teammates to challenge and suggest other ways of doing it.
“By having these cross-team events that focus on the community of practices we have, each developer gets to see a lot of different ways of doing things. It’s amazing; you’d think you’d run out of people to say, ‘no, there’s another way of doing it’, but you never do.”
Headforwards regularly brings hybrid, remote and inhouse employees together for social events, which Greg considers to be of utmost importance.
Interacting with people on a work basis is good, but where team relationships are really made is when you chat and socialise outside of that. It could be a Teams meeting in the morning, afternoon tea, or Go Karting like we did last month (that I was shocking at). Just putting time aside to get to know your colleagues is so important; it sounds trivial but actually it’s really quite fundamental to making a team work.
Greg recently moved into a new project initiative at Headforwards, involving a project focused on financial work for a company with an international client base.
“In my previous team we had multiple clients, and a lot of Proof of Concept work. We had smaller duration projects and multiple permanent clients, meaning each developer moved around a fair bit.
“The team that I’ve moved into is much more focused on incubating longer term projects, so I’ll be focusing on one project but still have the opportunity to move on, which I think is quite a good position to be in.”
In this team, Greg will learn Java and Micro Service technology.
“There’s always something to learn – it’s great to have the opportunity to gain new skills without having to move to another company.
“I think it’s so important not to get stuck in one thing – there’s always going to be something to learn so we must always look for those opportunities. It might not be tech based, it might be team based – doesn’t matter, we just always need to be learning and taking something away from our day to day.”
Greg is one of the few people who works full time in the Headforwards office at FibreHub.
“I didn’t get on at all well with working remotely during the pandemic; I like working in a team environment and I found it very difficult to maintain a good work/life balance.
“FibreHub is amazing – a great office and an outstanding café. Headforwards were kind enough to sort me out with a permanent desk, and now when I’m at work, I’m at work, and when I’m not I can completely switch off.
“The pandemic made me realise the importance of going out and enjoying what I have on my doorstep. There are some great walks around the coast where I live, and I like the occasional jaunt to my local pub, where they know what I’m having before I even order it!”
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