Senior web developer Ricky shares industry insights gained since 2012
The next in our series of meet the team articles, we speak to Ricky Clarke, Senior Web Developer at Granite 5, to explore Ricky’s insights as to the go-to person for front-end development.
TL; DR front-end developer expertise, communication key to successful web projects, and mobile optimisation is the biggest industry change.
Ricky started his career in a vastly different field, as a Leisure Assistant, then later a Duty Manager, after studying leisure and tourism. He always thought this would be the industry for him, but also had a keen interest in technology and websites so undertook a part-time course in coding. After being made redundant, Ricky took the opportunity to make his passion a career and applied for an apprentice web development role with us.
Of course, Ricky landed the job and that is where it all started! He had extensive training and got totally immersed in the world of web development and has never looked back! As with many developers, Ricky had to choose early on whether to specialise in back-end or front-end web development. For Ricky, he loved the impact you could have with front-end work and the visual presentation for the user so it was an easy choice.
Ricky has been an integral part of the team for over 9 years now and has grown and expanded his skills during that time to become a senior web developer. His expertise and knowledge are priceless, which is why he is the go-to person for front end related challenges, trends, and techniques.
Granite 5 – What do you think is key to delivering a successful website project?
Ricky > Strong communication is the key to delivering a successful website project. It is vital at all stages of the project from planning, so everyone is clear on what the delivery outcomes are, and throughout the project so issues are resolved quickly. This coupled with a great project manager who keeps the project on track and ensures transparent communication.
We use a project management tool called Active Collab, which clients have access to and helps to facilitate communication. Responses are immediate which can be crucial in a tight turnaround project.
Version control is also essential for a successful website project, as it ensures if changes need to be rolled back because of any issues, then it can be done easily with the right version.
Granite 5 – How do you feel web development has changed during your career?
Ricky > Coding standards were hugely different when I started, and the introduction of flexbox, a web layout framework, made coding a lot simpler. WordPress has also evolved over my career as it used to be a simple and small content management systems (CMS) system and is now a much more complex system and one of the most used on the market.
The other substantial change is in the area of mobile responsive websites and the focus on building for different devices. When I started mobiles were not used for web browsing, which has certainly changed now! This has caused a shift in the way we develop websites, as the design and website structure need to be focused on mobile browsing.
Granite 5> What is the project you are most proud of?
Ricky > I have been lucky to work on some amazing projects, and have enjoyed all of them, but the one that stands out the most is a recent website we created for The Association for Nutrition (AfN).
The style and design of the website were quite different from anything we had done before and allowed me to be more creative as a developer. I really like how the website works and am proud of what we created for the client, which achieved and exceeded their initial brief.
Granite 5> What makes Granite 5 unique?
Ricky > The team really cares about each project like it is their own and are always looking for ways to improve or optimise the client’s websites. We truly work in partnership with our clients to support them rather than simply delivering a service. I am proud of that.
There is a unique team spirit within the agency where you know everyone is willing to help each other, but at the same time, we push one another to be better and deliver outstanding work we are proud of. It is relaxed but we get the work done.
There is also an environment of learning and constantly trying new things which I think is great. We are always looking for more effective ways of doing things and pushing the boundaries in all our areas of expertise.
Granite 5> Finally when you are working in an industry that changes so fast, how do you keep up to date?
Ricky > The team share insights on any industry changes and best practice to ensure we are all up to date.
I subscribe to the following industry newsletters and websites which help me keep up to date with what is going on in the industry.
- Smashing Magazine
- CSS Weekly
- Frontend Focus
- Responsive Design Weekly
- Free codecamp
- Webdesigner Depot