A day in the life of a full stack JavaScript engineer

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A day in the life of a full stack JavaScript engineer

Name Dominik Widomski

Job title Senior full stack JavaScript Engineer

Time at Digital Detox 6 years

In the first blog of our new series, we asked Senior Developer, Dominik, to tell us about a day in the life of a full stack JavaScript Engineer. Read on to find out how Dom spends his time, what challenges he faces and what he loves most about the job.

What is a full stack JavaScript engineer?

A full stack JavaScript engineer is a major asset to any development team. They’re able to work on the back-end infrastructure of a website or application as well as the front-end experience that’s visible to an end user. It makes even more sense if we break down the term into its component parts:

Full stack This refers to the back-end and front-end component of a website. In other words, the bits you can see visibly on screen and the hidden bits behind the scenes that make the functionality work.

JavaScript A type of programming language or framework that allows a developer to build interactive and engaging elements on a web page.

Engineer The difference between a developer and an engineer is that a developer usually works on individual pieces of functionality. An engineer applies engineering principles to the online system as a whole and understands the interdependence of all functionality, frameworks and infrastructure. They usually work across multiple projects simultaneously, often providing consultative input based on their knowledge and experience.

Tell us about a day in the life of a full stack JavaScript Engineer

My role as a full stack JavaScript engineer at Digital Detox is definitely interesting!

In addition to my primary project, I dip in and out of various other projects of all sizes and levels of complexity. For example, I might get involved in a discovery project for a client who wants a simple proof of concept for an idea they have. This could be a two week phase where we understand the requirements, share ideas and then create a simple prototype to help them test out various use cases or scenarios.

At the same time, I might also provide assistance on a large strategic project that could span months or even years! Because my role is quite senior, I’m often brought into projects to provide suggestions or different perspectives on how to solve problems and create solutions for clients. I love the experience of working across multiple projects simultaneously - it keeps the job interesting.

What kind of projects are you involved in?

My primary focus at the moment is an internal re-platforming project for a large roofing products company that operates in over 30 countries. We’re helping them deliver a web platform that will eventually be rolled out to all of their markets. It’s exciting working with international clients and across multiple industries as it exposes me to different markets, customer types, ways of working and unique challenges.

As well as this, I support the team in prioritising their workload and time so we deliver quality outputs to our clients’ deadlines and budgets. As a team, we manage all aspects of development for the company. This means getting involved in the strategic aspects of a project as well as the granular detail, like managing the client helpdesk, fixing bugs and strengthening technical architecture.

We work closely with the designers too, often feeding in to their designs from a technical feasibility and future-proofing perspective.

What do you love most about your job as a full stack JavaScript engineer?

I love the feeling of seeing a project through, from conception to delivery to the client. It gives a massive sense of achievement! As a development team, we’re always pushing ourselves to do better and come up with innovative ways to solve problems - we’re very client focused.

I enjoy delivering real value to clients and seeing the impact our work has on their business. Some of our projects are aimed at internal staff rather than end users. For example, we might help teams find better or more efficient ways of doing things through technology. It’s rewarding to see people enjoying their jobs more as a result of our solutions. In the end, this increased efficiency and enjoyment benefits their clients and end users too.

I also really like working on proof of concept projects because anything is possible. We offer timeboxed discovery sessions for clients who have a tight budget or deadline. This means we’ll condense our discovery phase into say two or three weeks and try to deliver as much workable functionality as we can within that time frame. We’ll build a prototype that the client can then take to their stakeholders or clients to get buy-in or feedback.

It’s usually a fun, focused project where we get to think creatively and aren’t limited to any one particular solution. Sometimes we’ll use cool technology like AI or VR to show what’s possible. We’ve been exploring Microsoft Cognitive Services a lot lately, which is very exciting.

As an engineer, how have you found the move to remote working due to Covid?

As a company, we’ve always had pretty flexible working arrangements anyway and our senior leaders trust us to work in the way that suits us best, as long as we get the job done.

The biggest challenge of remote working for me has been working too much and struggling to switch off. Often, I’ll get so wrapped up in a project, that I work into the evening and do way more hours than I would in the office. This is great for productivity but not ideal for wellbeing!

Our HR team has been great at reminding us to take regular breaks and avoid working long hours. There’s a lot of mindfulness about this in the company and as a team we encourage each other to look after our physical and mental health.

Some of the engineers in the team have found remote working challenging, especially from an isolation perspective. Luckily, our office has reopened for those who prefer to work there - the building has been altered to become Covid-safe and we have flexibility to come in and work from there whenever we wish. This flexibility is one of the things I like most about working at DD.

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