My Experience as a Website Developer
To explain my experience as a website developer I should first explain my education; after completing my A Levels I went to University here in the UK and gained a first class honours degree in computing. My dissertation was written on how we can use technology to alleviate and prevent mental health issues, which I'll write more about soon.
When I left university I went straight into a data analyst job at a local school but shortly after realised this wasn't for me, there wasn't any creativity and it quickly became very mundane. After leaving this job I was unsure of where I wanted to go with my career and spoke to a friend who is a self employed jeweller. She expressed that she needed help with her social media and website and I agreed to help on a part time basis.
Having just taken on my first client I realised there was probably a lot of people in the same boat, small businesses that maybe didn't have websites because they didn't know where to start, or those that did but didn't want the task of maintaining it. I looked on various sites and saw a huge gap in the market. This was over 3 years ago and I've since helped to develop over 30 websites.
I learnt code at university and that helped massively. The first client I took on already had a Squarespace site so I quickly learnt that platform and started adding my own code to make each site more personal. Since then I've developed sites in Squarespace, Wordpress, Wix and hand coded some from scratch. What I love about this job is that each website is completely different from the last. If I couldn't code I'm not sure I'd enjoy it as much; website builders are great but you do get a sense of uniformity with the sites they produce and having done this for a few years I can spot a templated website a mile off now.
If you've been following me for a while you'll know that I also offer photography and social media. I took photography as an A Level and in my summers off, offered photoshoots to families for a small fee to help me build my portfolio. Since then I've worked with businesses to photograph their products and premises, it's something that isn't as scalable as website development as the businesses do have to be fairly local but it's still something I love to do and a great way of helping businesses express their individuality.
With social media, I fell into that. The first client I worked with (the jeweller friend) took amazing photos of her pieces and this was the selling point but it was important to show these photos to as many people as we could. Part of my work with her was to grow her social media following as it had become hard to keep up with it. I implemented scheduling software that meant posts were going out even when she was in the work shop, too busy to get to her phone, we grew Instagram and Pinterest because we knew that was the right audience, people wanted to see pretty things! In just under a year her following doubled and I realised what a huge role it played in the current market. With this in mind I kept an eye out for other businesses needing a hand. Lots of businesses want to grow their social media but it isn't a priority so you'll often find that accounts become stale, only being posted on when they have a chance, or the opposite happens and the platforms are bombarded with posts and scare the followers off! I've worked with jewellers, writers and even frozen yogurt companies on their social media and noticed there isn't a 'one size fits all' mould for it, or any secrets either. Audiences are very unique to a business, consistency is key and great photography.
My work load changes all the time and I find myself working with such a wide array of businesses which I love. If you've read my other blog posts you'll know that I took courses during lockdown to help develop my skills and widen the services I can offer to my clients. I've loved helping small businesses express themselves online and look forward to continuing that!