How I got into UI development at Rawnet

Jess has been a UI developer at Rawnet since January 2017.

She has played a crucial role in visually appealing UI on our projects. Her key responsibilities include working with UI designers to achieve a seamless, interactive, visually appealing UI design, efficiently use HTML, CSS and Javascript frameworks to ensure good quality and accessible UI  and identify areas for improvement in existing interface structures.

A little bit of background around your career – any previous jobs? 

I studied to become a Graphic Designer, but after my first ‘grown-up’ job didn’t work out, I had to reevaluate. Basic web design and coding was a module on my Graphic Design BA, and a small agency was willing to take me on as a junior and nurture and mentor me. A year later, Rawnet approached me on LinkedIn. I joined as a Junior and have been here ever since, working my way up to Senior! 

What made you want to go into UI Development?

It was a slow burn. I wasn’t immediately in love with it because of my creative background. Still, after some perseverance and overcoming the initial hurdles, I found satisfaction in creating something far greater because of the long time and effort in problem-solving. 

What are your day-to-day tasks?

  • We usually start the day with a project stand-up, organising ourselves for the day.
  • My day-to-day tasks include: building new components for a brand-new website, working with the QA department and fixing bugs they have found, working on small projects or maintenance tasks on our retainer clients, reviewing wireframes and designs and discussing new projects with the creative team as well as detailed project planning and estimating tasks.
  • I also review other UI team members' code, no matter how senior or junior; reviewing each other's work is a great way to learn from each other.

Three things you should know before thinking about a career in UI Development?   

  • Having a keen eye for design is advantageous.
  • There are usually multiple answers to things, don’t be afraid to suggest or ask for alternative solutions when faced with a problem in the code, UX or design.
  • UI development requires a wide-ranging skillset, but I think it’s good to focus on something you feel passionate about that you can specialise in and be seen as an expert in. But it’s totally okay if it takes years of exploring before knowing. So to double up this tip, I would also say to be open to learning new things.

What are your career highlights?

  • To start off small, a special memory to me is when I almost didn’t return after popping out for lunch to my first developer job. I was learning how to use Github and a terminal for the first time, and it frightened me, and I thought I wasn’t cut out for programming. I was SO close to leaving because I felt like such an imposter, but I am SO glad I pushed through it because I have no idea what I would be doing right now otherwise!
  • The first time I lead UI on a successful project. They’re still meaningful to me years later, and it’s nice when they stay on as retainer projects.
  • Any student that comes in for work experience through Rawnet Academy and can tell they’ve had a great time and have soaked it all in. They’re always great highlights of my year and make me feel really happy.
  • I’ve spent a few years as a sessional lecturer, teaching basic design and coding HTML and CSS on a Graphic Design degree similar to what I studied in the same college! I feel as though I have come full circle, and I’ve been enjoying giving back.

What are your favourite parts about working at Rawnet?

My team are fantastic and are what makes working here so great for me - we are all so similar and share so many of the same values. Everyone really is in it together and you never feel alone in anything! I love that I can bring new ideas to the table and they are always welcomed - I always have a voice here. I mostly love that its just a really non-judgemental and friendly environment!