Meet The Team: Junior Front-End Developer, Liam Gardner
Name: Liam Gardner
Position: Junior Front-End Developer
Years with Flipdish: 1.5 years
A vague early interest in coding
OK, let's do this - in 1000 words or so you will learn how I went from aspiring developer to full-time developer at a tech startup. The dream, right?
Let me tell you how it all happened.....Once upon a time, out of nowhere really, I decided I wanted to be a developer. Well that's kind of a lie, as I do have vague memories of typing out lines of BASIC on my Commodore 64, at the age of seven, waiting for a balloon to fly across the screen.
Doing Computer Science as an elective college subject
However, when I went to college to study Music I grabbed the chance to do Computer Science as an elective subject. That way there was no pressure, as it was just an elective. Taking the Computer Science class really just confirmed my biggest fears, that maybe I was studying the wrong subject in Music.
Anyway, fast-forward another few years and I found myself again messing around with some PHP, trying to put together a script to automate downloading some game cover art. This led me to the coding tutorial website freeCodeCamp. I accidentally stumbled across their HTML/CSS/JS material and found myself engrossed. This was easy! Well, relative to what I'd come across before. It was so well laid out and simple to follow that I was immediately feeling a sense of 'Yeah, I can do this, coding ain't so hard'.
Now, self-learning is all very well and good but it can be hard to keep it up, especially with two kids running around looking for your attention! Those YouTube coders made it look easy but I knew I needed to dedicate myself, and preferably somewhere away from distractions
Taking on a full-time course to enhance my skills
The course took some time to get going, but it was a really good introduction to taking designs and turning them into fully functional websites. This was a great selling point, but one of the main reasons I applied for the course was the promise of work experience. Near the end of the year we were given our job placements - and mine was in a startup called Flipdish!
Martina, the course tutor handed me the details of the placement and I'll never forget the list of technologies Flipdish used. My heart dropped. Before this I was confident, all the exams and exercises had gone really well and I had no difficulty with the concepts, but when I saw that list I freaked out! TypeScript, React, Redux and others - the list seemed endless. "Doesn't anyone want some CSS or HTML?", I wondered. What was I getting myself into?
Starting with Flipdish and feeling welcome
That fateful first day at Flipdish soon arrived. Before I got there the CTO Tamas had contacted me and had already set up a Flipdish email address for me. It was a small thing but it made me feel really welcome.
When I got there Tamas greeted me, showed me around and soon introduced me to Viktor. He would be tasked with mentoring me/looking after me/ helping me/ripping my code apart/guiding me - well you get the idea! It was Viktor's job to get me up-to-speed as quickly as possible, to find out what I knew and what I didn't know (which was a lot!).
Gaining valuable experience and securing a full-time position
Near the end of the three months Tamas gave me the task of working on Flipdish's web portal, which was a big thing for me. To work on code that was actually going to be seen and used in the real world was a huge confidence boost and great experience.
When the three-month work placement was up I was offered a position as a Junior Developer. It was the end of a journey and the beginning of a career as a coder. It's been well over a year now since I started and I can honestly say I've come so far thanks largely to the help of all the developers who work here - Viktor especially in the early days and Danijel once in a while (which really means every day!).
I certainly did not take the traditional route to this career, but I hope this blog post serves to highlight that it's never too late to learn something new and that Flipdish is a great place for tech professionals to work.