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Interview with a vampire web developer

Sorry, we couldn’t get a vampire.

We don’t come across such exotic entities around here.

You see, we’re not one of those flamboyant, London web design agencies.

There are no hipster micro-breweries or late-night gin bars to fall into after work.

There are no neon lights or night buses round here.

We’re a web design agency based in a quiet little village near Oxford.

There’s a village store that closes for lunch and the odd tractor trundles past the office.

Our car park is filled with second-hand Golfs, Skodas and an ever-lasting Renault Scenic.

We finish at 5.30 pm every night and drive straight home.

Our large, open-plan office is a renovated pub - and actually very cool, to be fair.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great place to work and most of our clients are extremely well-known brands.

We just don’t make a song and dance about it.

Plus, we’re not allowed to talk about some of our biggest clients, even if we wanted to.

You won’t find us in industry magazines or clamouring for attention at boozy networking evenings.

So, for the love of all things Converse, why would an intelligent software developer want to come and work here?

Well, we interviewed our latest recruit, web developer (and distinctly unvampiric) Chris Tilt, to find out.

So, Mr T, what’s your top 3 interests?

Spending ill-advised sums of money flying to interesting places, running and currently politics (it’s basically light entertainment). And programming, obviously.

That’s 4, but we’ll allow the last one.

Favourite tipple?

G & T. I did have a very nice bottle of gin, but lots of it appears to have evaporated. That’s the theory I’m going with.
Sounds a reasonable assumption to me.

Right, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty stuff.

What’s your technical background/experience?

My background is a mix of technical and non-technical. I studied computer science at university, graduating in 2008. Whilst working for an insurance company I had personal projects that I would work on in my own time, mainly using Java. The company later hired me as a developer, and I worked with them for 2 years, mainly using .NET.

Have you always wanted to work with computers and IT then?

It’s something I’ve become more certain of as I’ve got older. Finding a job that makes you come alive is a process and I think a lot of people don’t find it until later on in life.
Having said that, programming has always been something I’ve enjoyed and found great satisfaction in.
True, no rule book says you have to know your ideal job when you're just starting out.

What were you doing in your last job?

For 5 years I was a referral underwriter for an insurance company. This involves thinking on your feet about edge cases for the 1% of customers that have interesting and unusual situations, which a company might want to extend some flexibility towards. 

But over time I realised that my passion was in making software for people. 

I then switched to working as a developer for the same company for 2 years, working on browser-based applications for management and front-line staff.

So, did you then start looking for a job particularly in a web design agency?

Not web design agency work specifically. I was looking for a company where I could make software to help people, whilst at the same time learning how best to do this amongst a team of like-minded people.
My previous role was great – it was my circumstances that made me look for a new role. Whilst working for them, my wife and I moved from Yorkshire to Oxfordshire, and the company had allowed me to continue working remotely. This was very generous on their part, but, as you might imagine, not sustainable.

Yeah, long-distance work can be tricky.

Why did you want a role as a web developer and what was attractive about working at Intuitiv?

I was quite picky when looking for a new job – there were a few things I wanted to be sure of.
The overarching priority was that I would learn and that what I learnt was a good way of doing things. I left the interview with Intuitiv thinking that I would, and happily, I was right.


How have you found your first few months here?

Compared to working from home? Fewer cats and more people to make drinks for. And better people to talk to (versus talking to myself).

HTML/CSS etc. or backend programming?

I honestly enjoy both. They’re very different but each is rewarding in its own way. Sorry, bit of a cop-out answer.
Not a cop-out at all. Developers here tend to do both, so it’s good to find the various aspects of web developing rewarding.

Finally, if someone’s interested in becoming a web developer, what would you advise?

If you’re interested, you’re lucky, because it’s one of the few jobs where you can work out whether you will enjoy it in advance. Look for tutorials and follow them, try making things in your own time and see how you get on. If you enjoy it, go for it!

Ah, a good life lesson to finish with there.

Thanks, Chris, we hope you have a long and enjoyable career with Intuitiv Digital!

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