In Conversation with a Front-End Developer

Written by: on December 11, 2018
Tags: Day in the life of, Inspiration, Interviews, Role Model, Women in Tech

Meet Claire Larsen, a Front-End Developer for web design agency,  interconnect/it. Claire and the rest of the team, design and build web applications for some of the biggest names in publishing.

If you’ve ever wondered how to become a Front-End Developer now is your chance to find out! Claire shares her story…

Claire Larsen

What skills do you think you need to do your job?

I would say the core skills would be HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Although a front-end developer role can vary quite a lot across different companies, so I wouldn’t say there’s a specific skill-set that fits all roles. I do a lot of WordPress development, so I find it really handy to have an understanding of PHP as I work a lot with templates.

What personal attributes or behaviours do you need to do your job?

Patience – Sometimes things just don’t work like you expect, and it can take a while to figure out why that is.

Motivation – You need to enjoy it. There are always new tools emerging, and different ways to do things. You never stop learning, so you really need to be motivated to learn in your own time as well as at work or in school.

Creativity – In some roles you may be more involved in the design aspect, but even if you’re not you might come across blanks you have to fill out – such as the hover state of a button or the position of an element on a mobile device. You need to be able to figure out what fits with the designs you’re working with.

How did you get to where you are today in your career?

I did a general computing course at my local college where we did a huge mix of computing subjects, one of those being web. That’s where my interest in web development began. From there I went to Edge Hill University. The degrees they had to offer were really great for me because I could tailor my course to fit what I wanted to do (front-end). I could concentrate on the modules that would help strengthen my skills (for instance Web Scripting, Web App Development, Programming), without having to worry about classes that weren’t as relevant to what I wanted to do.

I worked at another company for about a year after Graduating before I joined interconnect/it last Summer. I saw they were looking for a new Front-End Developer and I really liked the look of the company, so I went for it! Since I started I’ve been working on a variety of different projects, constantly learning new tools and different techniques. It’s challenging work and really rewarding.

Any advice for a young person who might want to do this as a career?

Don’t worry about trying to learn everything.

It took me a while to grasp this, but it’s okay to not know every new framework and tool out there. There are a lot, and there are always new ones popping up. It’s good to try them out, but don’t stress about it.

Learn what you’re interested in.

It’s well known that you learn best if you enjoy something, so if you’d prefer to play around with CSS animations rather than page layouts then do it. Chances are one will lead you to the other anyway without you realising it, so why not start with what you enjoy?

Make stuff! 

As long as you’re creating things, you’re gaining experience. It could be anything. You could build a site for yourself and show off all the other cool things you make. Maybe you know someone who needs to promote an event who could really use a web page? You could copy another site, it can be really interesting to see how other sites are built too. Challenge yourself and try it without the inspector tools.

Hang out on CodePen.

There’s so much inspiration over there, I love to see what other people are making!

Follow interconnect/it on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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