I recently caught up with our Developer (Ewa) to ask important questions, like “What’s a developer?” and “Where do babies come from?”
Who are you?
Hey, I’m Ewa and I’m a front-end web developer for Chaptr.
What does that mean?
I code things. Developers are given a design for a website and figure out a way to make it a reality on the screen. I specialise in the browser side of development – everything the end-user sees; the looks of the site, any interactions, UX, page load speed, SEO – that kinda thing.
Whereas servers and hosting: not my jam.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Ok, well I’m from Poland, in the Northwest, very close to Germany. I moved around a lot when I was growing up – but if you’re wanting to look it up on Google maps I’ll say Szczecin, that’s where I went to uni. It’s the biggest city in the area.
I’ve been messing around with coding since I was 13. I always liked design, and I always liked the internet, so I thought it would be good to do a mixture of creating pretty things and web development. I started creating little bits for myself, stupid things like… you remember those awful chain mails you would send to friends? “If you don’t send this message to x people in x hours, then your nan is going to die”, you know? Things like that were my first development projects – I’d send them to friends and spook them out. My dad was into IT as well, he’d made a website for our city before the city had done it themselves. IT was always around.
What do you like about being a front-end developer?
I love great design/experiences – I enjoy it when I go on a site and think “wow, this is great UX”. I don’t think there are that many of those experiences out there. I like doing things once, doing it to the best of your ability, and knowing your work is going to be used hundreds and hundreds of times – that one piece of work goes a really long way.
Web design is amazing – and if you can make it perfect and automatic, it can work forever and make everyone else’s job easier. Once you start doing it – you can see the logic that went into every website, so you can gain inspiration everywhere.
Can you give me an example of great front-end development?
Airbnb is another one that always comes to mind. They’re a great source of inspiration as far as web design and UX are concerned. It’s super easy to use, it’s designed to be inviting; it’s great.
How did you get the gig at Chaptr?
Well, it starts out quite typical; I was working elsewhere and wasn’t really happy – so I started looking for agencies in the UK whose work inspired me, and one of them was Chaptr. Funnily enough, I was walking around Southampton with my boyfriend, and he pointed to the office and said: “Chaptr, didn’t you mention that the other day?”. I had no idea they were so close! They weren’t hiring at that moment, so I kept my eye open for vacancies. One day I was on their Instagram, and they were looking for developers; from there it was pretty simple.
Tell us something you’ve learned since working with Chaptr
I’ve seen how much a strong team can make crafting the work easier. The people here have an underlying connection, they’ve been working together for so long in such a tight-knit group – they understand each other so well, sometimes without words.
I’ve also had the chance to see how other strands of the business work here. Everyone’s very open about what they’re doing, how the business is doing as a whole – at bigger corporate gigs you never see that kind of thing. I get to find out what’s valuable to each individual client, how best to work for them.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Learn how to receive critique. Know that people aren’t attacking you, they’re trying to make your work better. If you’re passionate about something and genuinely want to get better, you need to take other people’s opinions on board. It’s also a standard procedure when it comes to design/development – lots of people to please, you have to sell your idea while taking in other considerations.
What challenges have you found in your career?
I’ve always been weird. I was the only girl on my uni course (software engineering), full of boys who were convinced girls couldn’t code. Though I have a background in both development and design, I had to narrow my focus and put my effort into devs in order to be successful.
What’s the best bit about being a developer?
It just makes sense to me. There’s no decision fatigue – everything can be justified by numbers. You know what’s going to be the fastest/best solution to any problem because there is objectively an answer to whatever question the design is throwing you.
What do you do for fun?
I used to be in a band – I loved music, but now I’m old and I go to bed early. I’ve just moved, so the house is kind of a nightmare. It needs a lot of work, so that’s most of what I do when I’m not at Chaptr.
Oh… ok. What’s your favourite film?
There was one I loved when I was younger… Seria Niefortunnych Zdarzeń
What would you call it… a series of inconvenient…
A Series Of Unfortunate Events?
Yes, that. I loved that film growing up.
And finally, what’s your favourite drink?
I guess it would be green tea. I think I average out at about 5 a day, so if I said anything else I’d be untrue. That or Baileys.