My Next Job

What do I want from my next job?

That’s an interesting question. I’m assuming that my progress in my current role has ended – by progress I mean that I am not going to get a pay rise any time soon. Let’s face it, I’m nearly 40, I have minimal pension, no house, minimal savings – unless I start earning at least the average wage for London, let alone a developer then I’ll be screwed when I’m old.

Also it would be nice to fulfil a few dreams over the next few years, like visiting Japan.

Arguably more importantly, there are new, different challenges out there – and companies with more modern tech stacks that I want…and need to learn.

Yet I’m happy where I work, have a great team and am constantly learning and developing. My current role keeps throwing new challenges at me, which is great.

So, if I am looking, what am I looking for?

Not being under any pressure to find a job means that I am able to be pretty picky.

I’m not fussy about the industry but being in a field that I’m interested in – food, travel, music, etc would be a bonus. Likewise the size of the company, though I’d prefer a smaller company than a massive company, I am not fussy. I don’t particularly want to be in a mega-corporate environment – ie I have no intention of ever wearing a shirt and tie again for work.

It has to be a front-end developer role. I’m not interested in being a full-stack developer at this stage – I still haven’t mastered front-end.

They would have to be willing to grant me time to get up to speed with ES6 and React/Vue – I do want to be working for a company using the latest technologies, but my knowledge of them is close to zero. Indeed, having a culture that includes active training and development would be appealing, or at least space and time to do so.

The “feel” is important – do I get a good vibe from the company and those I speak to? Is there a challenge? Will I be able to contribute from the off yet have the space to become familiar with the codebase? What projects would I be working on? All that is really important – I might not be fascinated by storage, but I am really interested in how we continually improve the website and add new features for customers.

The frivolities

One of the current perks is being able to work from home twice a week, and really has been such a benefit to me finding work/life balance. So a minimum of one day working from home a week is an absolute must for me.

London. Must be in London. Ideally not quite such long hours as I work now either…or at least more appropriately compensated.

I don’t care about free beer, and certainly not free cake. I despise table tennis. Free fruit would be good though.

An actual computer would be good, or at least a decent laptop and a monitor so I’m not staring at a small laptop screen 40 hours a week. Heck, maybe go crazy and offer me a mouse. Oh but please don’t force me to use a Mac. Yuck. That is a deal-breaker.

Also I’m never working in a basement again, nor will I work in an office without air conditioning, or at least some semblance of temperature control. I feel like I sound so demanding, but these are basics which companies still get wrong, as I have experienced.

Casual dress is also a must – the option to wear shorts in the summer is nice. As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t put in years of studying and risked a career change and subsequent pay cut, to end up wearing a shirt and tie all day. That is not who I am.

Good people are a must but that is mostly a given nowadays.

Is my perfect job out there? Sure. Is it easy to find? No. Will I achieve my goal overnight? Hell, no.

I’m very comfortable where I am, but as I said, I want to keep improving as a developer – and I may be reaching my limit where I am. Plus my salary isn’t keeping up with my experience and abilities.

My position is pretty damn good, I have a job that I really enjoy, one that keeps challenging me yet is always at the right level, with a great team around me.

I’m not even actively looking as I feel that I need to improve my portfolio and my Github first – but I do get plenty of messages almost every single day about roles so I’m well aware of what is out there. If that perfect job comes along then I’m going for it.

But if it doesn’t, then I stay happy – I keep enjoying Mondays. It’s a pretty awesome position to be in.

Am I Still A Junior Developer?

It’s a question that has been bugging me recently, and I haven’t been able to find a fix for it yet.

Am I still a junior developer?

I look at code that is written on Stack Overflow, and sometimes it can be overwhelming. I watch my (more experienced) colleagues coding and they are so much faster at coming up with solutions than myself, and often much more efficient ways of coding. I know I’m way off being an expert.

On the flip side, I compare against where I was just a year ago – let alone two years ago. I’m fully versed in working with Restful APIs, I know JavaScript fairly well – even if I forget some important functionality like map or reduce. I’m comfortable building an app from scratch in AngularJS – which this time last year I had only just started using.

I can build components, extend the website, change the styling as required, do bits of animation. I can debug errors quite proficiently now – something I really struggled with when I first started at Lovespace.

I’ve created an admin site for business customers pretty much from scratch, rebuilt one of the order flows in AngularJS – removing the jQuery side. I’ve enacted more then one redesign of the order funnel, and rebuilt various sections of the WordPress site at work.

I have plenty of achievements to look at.

Yet then I look at the jobs out there for people with 2-3 years experience, and they seem to need fluency in React, and almost expert-levels of JavaScript, not just understanding what does what, which generally I do – but understanding why and the theory behind it, which generally I don’t.

What to improve?

In the very limited time outside of work that I have to improve my skills, I’m torn between whether to learn React, improve my AngularJS knowledge (as that is what I use at work), thoroughly learn the JavaScript ecosystem or learn ES6+ (modern JavaScript). And then am I better reading books, doing courses or maybe I should start watching YouTube videos of more experienced developers?

I am also kind of limited in my job in that we use an old framework – AngularJS instead of a modern one like React or Vue, we don’t use many of the tools that seem popular such as Webpack or Docker (if arguably pointless – just trendy), nor do we use ES6. So though I am becoming a better developer, I still feel like I am falling behind the competition.

Though why I feel the need to define my developer status is another question – maybe I don’t actually need to.

Am I still a junior developer?

My conclusion is no. I think.

What I know now is another world away from what I knew when I was employed as a junior developer – yet I still don’t feel like a fully-fledged mid-level front-end developer.

Maybe I should stop comparing myself to more experienced people and remember that I’m relatively new to this game – a complete change in my life and one that I’m delighted to have made.

So much still to learn on my journey.

Jeez, I’ve just previewed my post…what have I done to the font? Oops. Going on my Easter fixing list.