Getting to Know... Web Developer, Nathan

Our Getting to Know... series is back, with Nathan the latest member of the team to be put under the spotlight.

12th March 2020

12th March 2020

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Estimated Reading Time 7 Minutes

James Bolton

James Bolton

James Bolton

Written by James Bolton

After a bit of a break, our team insights are back! Nathan is a popular face in the studio, with his cheeky smile and endless food supply keeping us entertained (and a little bit heavier) on a daily basis.

It was back in 2014 that Nathan joined Better as a fresh faced apprentice, straight out of school. He progressed through the ranks as quickly as he fitted in, becoming a fully-fledged web developer in the summer of 2017. Since then he's been an integral part of the team, with his passion, commitment and creative flair helping to deliver some of our biggest web and digital projects. We spoke to him about his role, working at Better and plenty more.

What made you dive into the world of digital and web?

In school we started to use Adobe Dreamweaver (the hottest tool at the time!) to create simple websites. It was an application that allowed us to drag and drop elements to form web pages. It was acceptable for what we needed to do in our assignments but I knew that there was code behind it all, something that this program allowed to view and edit. I began to understand how the HTML, CSS and Javascript came together to dictate the structure, styling and interactivity within a webpage.

Once I’d seen an apprenticeship advertisement from Better, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to develop my learning. Being on an apprenticeship meant that some of the time in the office was spent completing coursework and assignments for my software development qualification instead of doing client work.

Having a mix of training and client work was great as I could put in practice the knowledge I learnt from training and apply it to the projects I was assigned to.

I started off coding Wordpress Themes for websites designed by other members of the team. This is one of my strengths as I now know Wordpress considerably well and continue to develop websites for clients using this.

Throughout my five years at Better, not only have I been given the opportunity to code amazing websites but it’s allowed be to get stuck right in there in other aspects of web development, including using various programming languages, tech stacks as well as learning other skills such as server management.

I primarily do Wordpress development but have recently been designing client websites also. I didn’t have any prior experience in design but by job-shadowing other members of the team I managed to pick up a lot of tips, tricks and knowledge from them. Luckily for me working in this studio, we have a creative team who create remarkable brands, providing me with guidelines and assets to use. One of the main goals for any brochure site we do is to bring the brand alive on the web - having these resources to hand makes my job of designing a site a lot easier.

What is your favourite aspect of working at Better?

I think my favourite thing about working at Better is that every day I have been here, I have learnt something new. Whether it be a new snippet of code, new tools and technologies or a new phrase from the guys in the studio.

What has been your favourite project whilst working at Better?

My favourite project that I’ve worked on has got to be Baltic. Baltic were the training provider for my apprenticeship and when they approached Better for their rebrand, I was thrilled. I think they were really comfortable with our approach on their new brand which kept things exciting for both them and Better.

My part within the project was to build the new Baltic website and I started when the designs for the site, incorporating their new brand and identity, had been completed.

With a fresh new identity, we used trending technologies like Flexbox and CSS Grid and CSS Animations to bring the brand alive. At the time when we were building the site, these layouts and animation techniques hadn’t been used that much on our previous client sites so it was good for me to see how we’d make use of these in real client-based work. There were some more technical aspects of this project that I loved being involved in too such as migrations from their existing site and incorporating an external vacancy feed.

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If you had the chance to work on a project with one client in the world, who would you choose and why?

This has definitely got to be OnePlus. They make some of the most powerful phones in terms of presence and in specs. Their strap-line is to ‘Never Settle’. They don’t do what others do, they are community driven and are never afraid to be different which I think is what engages their customers.

I think in some ways that Better are like the OnePlus of the branding world. We might not be the most ordinary or standard (Apple) choice as there are plenty of other branding agencies to choose but the quality of the products that we are delivering knocks the socks off our competitors, just like OnePlus. Would love to do a project with them!

If you could live in a game, series or film universe, which would you choose?

It would have to be Richie Rich then I could have a McDonald’s built in my house, I’d never leave!

Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

I haven’t visited many places in the world but Florida was unreal! I was only a kid when I went but still think I’d enjoy it as much if I went now.

Three Twitter accounts to follow?

@tasty, @BBCRadio2, @sarah_edo

Take a look at some of our previous Getting to Know... interviews, including chats with Adam, Charlotte and John.

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