Dave snapping a polaroid on a Simpleweb team trip to Berlin

Today we’re taking our hats off to Dave D, one of our awesome front-end developers, as it’s his last day as a member of the Simpleweb team. Dave has been given an amazing opportunity to step away from full-time coding and become a Developer Advocate for the open-source publishing platform Ghost.

Before he goes, he’s shared with us some of his Simpleweb highlights, as well as the knowledge and learning that has shaped his career (and a bit about what he’ll be up to at Ghost!).

Simpleweb: What are the biggest things you’ve learned in your time as a front-end developer at Simpleweb?

Dave D: This is a question that I could spend hours answering. I’ve learnt so much about creating quality work, both in terms of general production and the finer details such as code quality. I’ve learnt that collaboration and welcoming others to review your code has huge benefits.

My career is littered with moments when a project I was playing with in my spare time became part of my day job

Even with particular languages like JavaScript, I’ve learnt so many new techniques from a team so knowledgeable.

Team dynamics, creating minimal viable products, workshops, user testing, the list goes on. I really lucked out on this opportunity.

SW: What’s been your favourite project to work on?

DD: I can only pick one? Dang! Well I’ll pick one this time and set aside the other great projects such as Datemakers and Giki.

We’ve recently been working with Space for Arts to create their new platform for their studio booking network. The project has allowed me to work with a great team of people and use modern coding techniques that I’ve been itching to use. The results have been better than expected and inspired me to use these in my future career.

SW: And how about your best/ most whacky memory?

Dave and Alice brandishing the long tickly arm of the law at a street game workshop in Berlin

I’m pretty sure the rest of the team can guess this one! Running around a sandpit in Berlin trying to tickle people with a feather duster is definitely my most whacky moment.

The time we spent in Berlin was an amazing experience that I would love to do again, hangovers and all.

SW: You’ve also been involved in quite a bit ‘non-technical’ stuff, like writing blogs, attending conferences, giving talks. How has this impacted on the direction of your career?

DD: Incredibly so, in fact it’s the reason I was given this new opportunity as Developer Advocate at Ghost. John O’Nolan, CEO of Ghost, has been aware of my work within the community for a number of years.

I’d never really thought about it until recently but all the writing, open source development, collaborative contributions, video tutorials are exactly the type of things a Developer Advocate does.

SW: What about your new role are you most excited about?

DD: Everything I mentioned above! The thought of doing all of the things I really enjoy doing as part of my job is so exciting.

Particularly talking at conferences – I’ve only dabbled in this by doing a couple of lightning talks, but I’m very keen to get stuck into it and make more of a contribution to the ever-expanding JAMstack community.

SW: What advice would you give to front-end devs who are just starting out?

DD: The front-end development landscape has grown incredibly over the last few years, and that could certainly seem daunting to a newcomer. But don’t let that scare you as it means there are lots of different entry points for you to try out.

Dave’s sliding puzzle game tutorial, scroll down to the bottom of the blog for a link

And when I say ‘try’ I really mean play. Play with some small piece of CSS you found on CodePen, play with a fun project you found on GitHub, play with a framework you’re interested in.

My career is littered with moments when a project I was playing with in my spare time became part of my day job.

You can keep up with Dave’s antics by following him on Twitter @DavidDarnes – or checking out his blog: https://david.darn.es/.

If you’d like to discuss your startup or project, get in touch with Simpleweb today.

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