Michael van Rooyen

By Michael

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A day in the life of...Head of Development

Next up in our miniseries looking at the day to day life of some of our wonderful team members, is Mike, our Head of Development.

A day in the life of...Head of Development

Job title:

Head of Development.

Describe the main responsibilities of your role:

Making sure the developers within my team are happy, productive and constantly learning within their roles. I monitor new ideas, technologies and changes within the industry and try to understand how Extreme might utilise them to improve our output for our clients. With an interest in the delivery of projects, I also look at my team’s processes and how we can maximise efficiency and minimise errors through automation.

What’s your morning routine before work?

Up at 6:30am, out of the door at 7:15am, in the office at 7:45am. In the summer I’ll try and get up earlier to fit in a run at least once a week - During the winter, not a chance.

What’s the first thing you do when you start your working day?

Check our support ticket system for any new tickets overnight.

How do you prioritise what you have on for the day?

I like a good to do list, so usually at the start of the week I’ll try and list what my goals are and write them down ticking them off as I go.

Today I am working on…..

Most of my time isn’t spent coding, so on a Friday I like to spend some time trying to keep up to date with best practices, brushing up on techniques and anything new that might be on the horizon which could benefit Extreme and our clients.

Unfortunately, I can’t spend all day doing that because I’ve not quite ticked off all my tasks for the week though, so I’ll start by finishing writing up my notes from a recent performance review and the team member’s objectives for 2020!

Best part of your job:

Delivering a finished project to a client.

Biggest challenge in your role:

Managing project scope and impact on budgets.

At Extreme, we all want to deliver the best possible product for our clients, but sometimes expectations don’t always match budgets and compromises need to be made. Working on a web development project should be fun for everyone involved and bringing commercials into the conversation can strain relationships. Being able to communicate with project stakeholders effectively to help them understand why a request might not be possible or require extra budget is a real challenge. I hope I balance their ideas with what we can deliver.

Dream brief:

“Can you design and build us a new RESTful API?”

As a PHP developer by trade, we are often creating web applications that interact with 3rd party services. These might be Payment Service Providers such as Stripe or SagePay, accounting software or proprietary systems and one method of connecting our software to theirs is via RESTful APIs. There is nothing better than working with a well documented and intuitive API but I’ve never had the requirement to create one. I’d love the opportunity.

One thing you do at the end of the day:

Tidy my desk up for the next day. Clean desk, clean mind and all that.

Advice for anyone wanting to get started in your specialism:

You just have a go at it. Find an online tutorial for the technology you’re interested in and try to expand on it and add new features as you progress. Don’t worry about perfection or best practice, that will all come later. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice but take people’s opinion on subjective topics with a pinch of salt and bookmark stackoverflow.com.

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A day in the life of...Head of Development

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Post by

Michael

Head of Development

Mike has over 15 years experience as a developer in digital agencies, specialising in server side technologies and working on large scale systems across a wide variety of industries. Focusing on automation and process within the back end team he manages his aim is to make development, testing and deployment a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Michael

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