4 July 2018

Why you should consider becoming a Frontend developer at CODE

What do a South-African lawyer and a Frontend developer at a Dutch agency have in common? Usually nothing. Unless their name is Bianca Steyn, because then they’re one and the same person.

Interesting career switch, right? At CODE we thought so too, when she came to work with us a month ago. So we thought we’d ask her about it. How did that happen, Bianca? How do you go from pleading in a court somewhere down south to building Shopify webshops high up north?

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Getting very good at something

Bianca explains with a smile: “I moved here for love! My fiancé – he’s in IT as well – was offered a job in the Netherlands, so I went along with him. At first I wanted to practice law here, but that turned out to be quite difficult. I would have had to get all kinds of extra credentials. So I soon started looking for other options.” When she found an intensive crash course Frontend Development, she saw an opportunity. “In high school I used to take courses in information technology, so that sounded interesting.”

She applied for the course and was one of the few who finished it. Just after the graduation ceremony she got into a conversation with our Bob, who told her about Shopify with much enthusiasm and offered her a job on the spot. That, too, sounded like an opportunity: “I wanted to specialize in something, really focus on a specific area of expertise. So that’s become building webshops with Shopify.”

By now she’s been a tiny bit infected with the Shopify virus. It’s very motivating to work with such a relatively new platform, which is continually improved. “The other day I went to a Shopify meet-up in Amsterdam for the first time, all people psyched up about Shopify, I could really relate!”

Frontend development with Shopify:

Direct results

CODE is the right place for her then! Since early 2017 our firm has also made a bit of a career switch. Where we used to build complex websites with lots of custom made code, we now churn out one Shopify webshop after the other.

For the frontenders this is a much more rewarding way of doing things. Senior Frontend developer Mark Rijkelijkhuizen explains: “It used to go like this with a new project. First the frontenders would determine what a site would have to look like. Then the backenders took three months to put in the required database. By the time we frontenders had all but forgotten about the whole thing, it would finally go live. So we didn’t really feel much of a connection to what we were actually making.”

With Shopify it’s a different story: it comes with the database included. Our frontenders now see the webshops come alive under their hands – the result is immediately visible. As soon as they finish there’s a fully functioning webshop, and they can watch it being launched. “It’s cool to see how those shops take off. Really fast too, in some cases! Not an issue for Shopify, but clients sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed themselves. They didn’t expect to be so successful so soon.”

Happy clients

The direct collaboration with clients is very inspiring. Mark: “We make an effort to involve them as much as possible. While we are working on a shop, for instance, we already give the client an area where they can add their products. That way we spot issues early on. And we work with sprints: clients can see in real-time how we tick off one task after another.”

It helps that clients are always over the moon with CODE. “Before we come into the picture they have often spent years messing about with their webshop software, and then out of the blue it’s fixed within two weeks! Usually they stay with us for a long time after that, so you really build a relationship with them.”

Bianca’s favourite? That would be kids’ wagons store JipFish, her first real Shopify webshop, for whom she worked on a renewed version last month. Mark goes for Veloretti, a recently relaunched bicycle webshop. “But the last is always the nicest!” He is also impressed with the original actions frequently cooked up by sneaker king Filling Pieces: “They take a very active interest in their webshop, so we usually reserve a day for them every week. A few weeks ago we temporarily closed up their whole webshop for them, counting down to a big sale. Creative and varied work.”

Easy going work atmosphere

Also a big plus: the relaxed atmosphere at CODE. Mark: “We all sit together, it’s very easy to have a look at a colleague’s screen or to walk around and discuss things. Even with lots of work in the pipeline there is little stress. Bob and Wouter aren’t making things difficult, when it’s superbusy you can still go on vacation.” That’s another advantage of Shopify, by the way: it never crashes, so at CODE we’re seldom seen in the office at night or over the weekend!

Bianca adds that she is pleasantly surprised by how she is tutored. “It’s very chill, the senior people are eager to help and take their mentorship seriously. If you ask for assistance or info they explain not only how to solve the problem at hand, but also teach you loads of tricks that are really helpful in the long run.”

Colleagues wanted!

Any downsides? Mark knows one: “Well, we could use some more people. Since a year or so the Shopify webshops are going so fast, we don’t have much time left for long term projects. We’re working on developing a Shopify theme for instance, but that keeps ending up on the bottom of the pile. So I was pleased when Isabelle and Bianca came to join us. Having more women in the office is also good for the general atmosphere. But we could still use a few more frontenders, the coming period. There’s plenty to do!”

Are you a gifted junior/medior/senior Frontender and does Shopify sound good to you? Or do you know anyone who would be a good fit for CODE? Then we would love to talk with you! Have a look at our vacancies (in Dutch), give us a call, or send an email. Looking forward!

Want to become really good at Shopify?

Come work with us!
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About the author

CODE easily writes 100 lines of code every day, but a blog is a different story! So we leave that to Linda Bleijenberg, our copywriter. She lives around the corner and wants to be an IT wizard when she grows up. Until then, she writes blogs about what we at CODE are up to.