Today I want to share what it's like to work as a front-end developer in a digital agency. Of course these are all my own personal experiences, but I think talking about it can help people currently looking for that first job get an idea of what a normal "day in the life" of a dev looks like. And if you're already working as a dev, it might be nice to get an alternative perspective. Hopefully you find it interesting either way (I'll try my best!).
I'm currently working in a medium-sized digital agency of about 60 employees, with 20 of us being developers (split evenly between front- and backend). As an agency we're earning money by selling hours as consultants, rather than working on a single dedicated product. Instead we work on a wide variety of different projects for our clients, from simple marketing websites to e-commerce stores to complicated webapps.
This wide array of projects (most being about 1-3 months of development time) is what really excites me about working in an agency. It's hard for me to stay focused and motivated when working on the same thing all the time, so the fact that there's always a new project in the pipeline is awesome for me.
It's also very common to be associated with several projects at the same time. At the beginning of the week, our project managers divide our time between the different projects that need focus right now. This helps to make sure that we're always working on the most important problems for our clients.
Another thing I really enjoy about working as a front-end developer in a company like mine is that we're at the forefront of new technologies. We focus on using modern tech like Vue/Nuxt, React/Next and TailwindCSS, usually together with a headless CMS or Laravel app as backend. I'm a big fan of not being locked to some old WordPress + jQuery versions, and find all this modern tech much more fun to work with.
Now of course it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Since we work directly for our clients, we always have to make sure that they're happy - even if we sometimes don't agree with their decisions. We also have to be very careful with deadlines and budgets as we only get paid for what was agreed upon initially. That can be stressful when unforseen circumstances happen that delay our work and make it harder to deliver on time.
For me personally, I do like this tradeoff between pros and cons. I don't think you'll ever find at job where everything is just perfect, 100% of the time.
Anyways, I hope this provided some insight into what it can be like working as a front-end developer. Do note that working in other types of companies (big tech, startups, corporations) could be a LOT different from what I've described here. Either way, I know I always enjoy learning about other people's experiences in the field, so hopefully you enjoyed reading this as well ✌
I'm Mads Brodt — a developer, author, teacher, creator and blogger. To keep up with all of my writing, follow me on Twitter or sign up with your email above 👆