From Software Developer to Senior Engineer

Rebecca Lawton

PR Assistant

I never met a problem that cheese couldn't solve.

What we always love to see here at Web Apps, is passionate people grow and develop – pardon the pun!

After being with us for just 3 ½ years, one of our Software Developers, Jon Hall, has gone and got himself promoted to Senior Engineer!

Joining us in 2013 as a permanent Software Developer, Jon is known as being a kind of guru, and someone who can always point you in the right direction. Especially when using his time to host training sessions for his fellow Webbies.

After winning the ‘Best Partnership’ award with his keyboard at Christmas, (yes, we know how it sounds) we’re not remotely surprised about the promotion.

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To start off with, what have you enjoyed most about working here at Web Applications?

What have I enjoyed most? Probably the variety of stuff that I’ve learnt. I’ve got to work on some of the more interesting subjects, and I’ve gained plenty of different skills. I’ve improved a lot since I started here, and as I started from a self-taught background, coming somewhere and being able to polish out all the rough bits in my work has been great.

So you didn’t study Computer Science?

No, I have a degree in Chemistry, but programming has been a lifelong hobby that I did on and off and I kept my rough attempt at coding to myself in my spare time. I found that I was programming all the time, and thought, hey, maybe I could do this as a career. Fortunately, Web Apps helped me out with that.

Did you ever get involved in any hackathons or meetups?

I was a bedroom coder so I didn’t go out and meeting other programmers. To be honest – I had no idea it was a thing until I came here. I didn’t know a hack existed and it’s been really interesting to take part in. It’s pushed me to go and meet other coders and I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t have that spark. I definitely wish I knew about them when I was younger, it would’ve helped me out a lot and built my confidence in coding.

Is there anything specific you’ve learnt that you wouldn’t have elsewhere?

I’ve worked on some pretty far out stuff. At one point in time, we were writing a custom language and I wrote something that could interpret that language. It’s not something you see every day where you can create something like that. I’ve had the opportunity to work with modern tech and Node, it’s been great.

This is probably a silly question, but how do you feel about the promotion?

Yeah that’s an interesting one, it’s not something I was shooting for, I was just getting through what I needed to do and I guess I’ve covered all the bases. Part of it is mentoring, which I did over the summer with the placement students. I look forward to the challenge and there hasn’t been a significant change in what I’m doing – but now I’m working even harder so they know they’ve made the right decision. It’s nice to have the recognition and a surprise as it was so unexpected.

Do you have any goals for the future that you want to achieve?

Previously it’s been to improve at programming, but I’m comfortable with that these days. This year I want to understand how the business as a whole functions. What happens when there’s a customer out there, the financial side and where they sign off for it. One day I might have my own business to run and at that point, I’d want to have an idea of how it works!

Do you have any advice for people who are looking to develop a career in IT?

Just keep coding, and make sure you do it in your own time. I already did it, but the value of actually caring about coding is unbelievable. Not just coming into the office and doing what you have to do and completely switching off when you leave. You should go home and work on projects and come up with ideas. Having that drive and passion is probable the most important thing as far as what I’ve learnt about the industry.

The people who do well and really show promise – are the ones who care

Congratulations on the promotion Jon, you deserve it!