A day in the life of a web developer...

Ever wondered who keeps your favourite websites running seamlessly behind the scenes?

Meet Chris O’Dell, 34, a senior software developer with more than a decade of experience. She talks us through a typical day at her current workplace, Just Eat.

08:30 I leave home to get the train from north London to the Just Eat office in St Paul’s. There’s some lovely flexibility at Just Eat because we all understand the complexity of London transport, so I tend to come in between 09:00 and 09:30. 

I’ve been at Just Eat for about a year. I started off as an API developer on the payment team, so I worked on a small slice of the whole site, the part that handles taking credit card payments in a secure and stable way. I’m a back-end developer, so rather than working on the design of websites, I work on the logic behind the scenes to make it all work. A few months ago I moved into a new role, so I now work in the platform engineering team.

09:30 For the first half an hour, I'm grabbing coffee from our fantastic espresso machines and chatting to colleagues.
10:00 We have a quick 10 minute call with the whole team – about eight people, and that includes our Bristol and Ukraine offices. We get updated on what everyone is working on and discuss any problems.

A lot of my job is coming up with solutions to problems, so we work in a very collaborative way. For example, I’ve been working on a project that allows us to add more security to the way that we take credit card payments, so for about three hours or so, a group of us will work together to try to solve an issue associated with that new feature.

I initially wanted to be a games programmer – I thought it would be amazing to create something that so many people enjoy and spend time playing. But while I was at university, I kept hearing horror stories about crunch time and people sleeping in the office and how the wives of games developers were nicknamed ‘the widows’ during periods of game development. It's also incredibly hard to get into it, very competitive, and you need to have really, really good maths skills.

13:00 We’ll break for lunch. I usually go for a walk with my colleagues and then we’ll all eat together in a communal kitchen area.

14:00 We have an internal sharing session. We do a lot of knowledge sharing sessions – it’s a great way for people to share cool projects or discuss a problem that they’re having. Every two weeks, we’ll have a whole team meeting, which we call a retrospective, where we look back and try to figure out what we can do to improve our processes. We play a lot of team-building exercises that usually take the form of quite silly games. A recent one was based on zombie survival – I think the woman who instigated it had been watching a lot of 'The Walking Dead'.

15:00 We'll go back and work in small teams on different problems. At least two people see the code that you work on – it all goes into a central repository – so it's very much a collaborative work environment.

17:30 I’ll leave, unless I have my head stuck in something...


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