Blog Post

Day in the Life of a Frontend Developer

October 16, 2014

Let me start out by saying that, yes, I did get this idea from the other frontend dev blogs that I browse. I saw a wave of talented front-end web developers blog about what a day in their life is like. It really got me thinking about how we could all be doing the same job (more or less) but manage to have different daily routines. Some developers work remotely daily or once a week, some only work in the office, and there were even some that would cross over between home and the office. From there, some had a lot of meetings, some had none, some had dev team-building events, etc.

I have the option to work remotely once every two weeks. It's pretty sweet - I still get to have face-to-face with coworkers but for that one remote day, I can go on a code-binge at home with no distractions. While the office is typically pretty calm, sometimes it's just nice to be able to get a bunch of tasks done with no interruptions.

A typical remote day...

On my remote days, I'll go through a few pages of reddit starting at 7:30am. By 8:30am, I will have gotten my daily fix of popular internet things, be showered, and my Keurig will be running. I'll grab a Cinnabon bagel with my coffee and head to my home office. While I like being distraction-free, I still feel the need to have some kind of sound in the background so I'll prop up my Chromebook and pull up either Netflix (some random show/episode I've seen a million times that could not possibly distract me) or Spotify. Then, I boot up my Macbook Pro.

I typically email or message the other developers to let them know I'm working from home first. I also use this time to reply to any emails. I mean, I am on Google Hangouts if they need me, anyway. So, then, I open up Jira and go through my tasks. I do this for about 10 minutes - responding to comments, updating statuses, and making sure things are ready to test so that the assigner can test the feature and close the task. Once I assess the tasks for the day, I'll start the code-binge. With a brand-new site, I have a lot to code out whether it's updated designs (html/scss) or something is broken (angular or API-related)... there's plenty to do. My boyfriend only works a few minutes away from our house so he comes home for lunch on my remote days. I make lunch at about 12:30pm and eat/chat with him until he heads back at around 1:20pm.

Then, I get back to my computer and check on the Developer Hangout to see if anything has happened since I was away. I get back to Jira in order to reply to any new comments or check on any new tasks. There might be an email or two waiting for me so I reply to those and get back to coding. If I have a question, I'll ask the senior UI developer on Hangouts or just head over to stackoverflow. I typically stop working at about 4 on those days. That's mostly to avoid from having my brain melt if I did not stop...

At the office...

Going into the office means a 10 minute drive followed by a 40 minute train ride. I grab the train before 8:30am and head downtown. While I will occasionally take a Javascript-related book with me... I mostly try to get amped up for work by listening to music. Once I arrive to the office, I grab some coffee, open up Jira, and talk to coworkers. On Mondays we have a developer meeting so that's typically about a half an hour to an hour long meeting going over development priorities for the week.

If I have design updates to apply, I have the PSD and browser opened up on my second screen and have the Atom editor opened up on my Macbook screen. I like being able to to have the PSD and browser side by side to make sure they match up. Sometimes if there's no rush, I just set up the html and do the CSS in the browser. I'll implement the design they created but I also like improving it so editing the CSS in-browser allows me to show it off. However, typically there isn't much time to do this so I'll just write the code, refresh the browser, make sure it matches up with the design, and move to the next task.

After a bit of coding and organization, we like to start planning for where we are going to lunch with coworkers. Lately I have been opting out of the lunches to be able to sit in the office alone and just review design changes or even try to break the site myself. Post-lunch, I typically start to lighten up and talk more with the fellow devs. At that point, people from other departments walk in to discuss a feature related to their department or to discuss a task in-person either with a backend developer or myself.

I get another cup of coffee around 3pm... for no other reason than to walk and I really coffee. We have a dev meeting around 3pm on Wednesdays and those are usually a pretty quick status check on priorities that need to be done by Friday. Then, the other devs and I get back to work and prepare (commit push) to do a release to the production site at 4pm. After the release, I start looking at Jira again to see what I can have ready for the next release. Spend a few minutes planning and then back to coding until 5pm. I like to leave at 5pm so that I can catch a not-so-full train at 5:07pm. I arrive to my house at around 6pm which gives me time to cook dinner at a reasonable hour for my boyfriend and I.