20 Jun A Day in the Life of a Developer at OnlineFuels
With 6 full-time developers currently working on our projects and further opportunities to join the tech team being open right now (check it), I’ve decided to sit down with our Junior Developer Jonathan (or JDog as some might know) and take you behind the scenes of an OnlineFuels developer’s job.
Jonathan joined OnlineFuels as one of our placement students from Newcastle University more than 10 months ago. From his early days, Jonathan became an integral part of our team and although he first worked on OnlineFuels V1 platform, he soon laid his hands on building Version 2 from scratch.
Throughout the months, Jonathan has shifted his focus towards front-end development. Front-end being the things you see on the screen and the back-end is the code that handles the processes in the background. Imagine the brickwork on the outside of your house being front-end and the plumbing and electricity being the back-end.
So what does the normal day of a developer look like in a tech company looking to streamline processes within the oil industry? Each of our developers work around their own schedules. One starts at 10, another comes in around 9, Jonathan, however, is usually the first to come in and the last to leave the office (talk about dedication!).
Of course, like most of the team, Jonathan doesn’t start until he’s had his cup of caffeine first thing after coming in. After the morning coffee, as part of the agile development structure of grouping all the tasks and developments in 2 weeks’ sprints, Jonathan would typically have a daily standup with all of the developers, to briefly explain what each of them has done the day before and what are they going to work on that day. Sometimes they might also have a time estimation session to estimate the complexity of some tasks and then straight to coding!
The afternoon is usually split between spending more time on coding and having sit-downs (aka quick meetings. Not to be mistaken with any musical games) with other people in the office, like our UX designer: to discuss new platform design implementations, CTO: to figure out possible solutions for some coding challenges, or even the commercial team to really understand the requirements of a particular feature. After some hardcore productivity time, Jonathan would grab a cup of coffee, energy drink or a beer (free beer taps are a bonus here…) to finish off any coding that is left and start planning his next day’s workload.
However, as simple as it sounds, the developer’s job is actually way more than coffee, coding, coffee, coding, beer. Developers at OnlineFuels get quite involved in the implementation of new processes, building industry innovating functions as well as working closely with other departments.
“For everyday workflow, we would gather requirements via tickets made by the commercial team on a project management tool that we use. Ideally, tickets will have a bug or a feature description from which we can decide and plan on how to implement them. In the process, I would not only sit down to code and test these features on my own but also speak to our UX designer to make sure the chosen design is user-friendly and implemented in the easiest way possible. Additionally, from a developer’s perspective, it can sometimes be difficult to assume how fuel buyers and sellers behave in purchasing fuel or even just accessing the platform and viewing market information. With that in mind, I have to continuously work with the commercial team to make sure that what we’re working on is actually helping fuel buyers and sellers; rather than confusing them. This means that I get to learn almost daily and understand the oil industry a lot better!” – Jonathan explained his everyday task approach.
When asked what Jonathan likes the most about his job, he highlights two things: seeing his code come to life as well as the work environment. “I have always been a fan of problem-solving and logical operations, which are major parts of coding. I also enjoy front-end development, because I can work with design decisions and see things changing aesthetically on the go. Therefore, working for OnlineFuels and having a chance to focus on front-end development, has made this job and the past 10 months a great experience! Additionally, our office is full of things to make your everyday work-life easier and a bit more interesting. We have loads of small meeting rooms available to sit down with my team or have a quieter place to focus on my own work. Being in a co-working office also means I get to meet different people from other companies as well as utilize free beer taps after work with my colleagues.”
However, each job comes with its own challenges. According to Jonathan, “there are always situations where you’ve spent hours of coding and yet you still can’t figure out what’s wrong. That is always a challenge and can get frustrating for every developer. However, our manager has been an incredible support through this journey. I can always rely on him and the rest of my teammates to help on more challenging tasks and learn a lot along the way”. Jonathan also pointed out that “working in a startup means that product, ideas and needs change constantly. This becomes a challenge as sometimes we need to handle the requirements without enough details or changing requirements that need to reflect on the coding which then takes extra time to implement.”
And finally, I asked Jonathan what are his favourite tools that help him to get the job done. “For me, it has to be a good IDE (Integrated Development Environment) – a software with an environment integrated to help writing code – which flags up relevant error or warnings as I write my code. I personally use Visual Studio Code, which normally helps to save time and energy trying to understand the root cause for some bugs. For other everyday tasks, I use Github for version control of our code, and Jira for project/tasks management. And lastly, Google is always handy when you come across some issues because someone might’ve had similar issues and fixed them!
Any last advice for a developer that is looking to potentially work for OnlineFuels?
“This is a great place to experience a fun Agile environment, we exchange issues and ideas on a daily basis which will definitely help one’s experience and knowledge massively. Also being awarded The Tech Company of the Year, we have the prestige and an exciting opportunity to make a huge positive impact on the oil industry, so come join us!”