Luke Williams – The Young Gun

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 46 seconds

Luke Williams - Intern to senior programmerPlease introduce yourself: I’m Luke Williams, a North London-er born and bred, and I first joined Active Webdezign on a two-week work experience placement in 2006 when I was 16. I’d been making websites since I was 11 so it made sense to pursue it as a career option. I spent that time re-doing the company website in CSS and working on a few flyers for clients. When I finished my A-levels in June 2007, Mike saw fit to offer me a full-time role in my gap year, so I worked as the senior programmer from June 2007 – June 2008, before heading off to University.

What are you doing now?

Whilst at the University of Kent completing my degree in Multimedia Tech & Design I also worked for the Uni in their webteam, maintaining some of the 100+ internal sites and developing and rolling out new features, a job I would not have had a hope of getting had I not already had 12 months commercial experience at Active Webdezign. After University I was lucky enough to get a fantastic job at Forward in Camden, a real technology-driven company which an incredible amount of smart developers. I learnt a ridiculous amount in my first 6 months, including Ruby, Node.js, using AWS, deployment, and operating at a huge scale with big data. Again the most important factor for me getting the job was my wealth of experience gained so far despite being only 21 at the time.

Tell us a fun anecdote from your time as a senior programmer at Webdezign?

I have many fond memories of that year in Woodside Park, particular the great chats we used to have around lunch time. In terms of clients I pushed to use WordPress as our primary CMS pretty much as soon as I got to Webdezign so I learnt the idiosyncrasies of the platform pretty sharpish as I had to lead development on most of these projects. Caribbean Unpackaged was a milestone for me as well as it was the first project I spec-ed out the work and built a custom PHP application.

What was your favourite lunch?

Thats a tough one, but I reckon it has to be Lahore in Hendon. Delicious and spicy food every friday kept me coming back even after I’d left for uni. A special mention has to go the Vietnamese place under the Arts Depot in Finchley, always loved the Pho there.

Editors note: Pho (phonetically Fah) is no longer on the lunch menu as Khoai has unfortunately closed down.

What was the 1 single lesson you took away from your time at Webdezign?

I think the biggest takeaway I’d take from my time at Active Webdezign is how different the commercial side of web development is from open source or just tinkering on your own. Its not an easy task to balance personal satisfaction in what you are developing with keeping the clients goals in mind. The other thing I think it taught me starting out in my professional career is working well with a team, be it the project manager or designer, making sure there is a lot of transparency in what is happening.

Do you have an unforgettable moment from your time at Webdezign?

Christmas Social 2007 at Belgos. Such a fantastic night for myself, Garry, Pete and Mike, full of laughs, drinking and great food. The next day was a brilliant scene where I dragged myself in late, Pete was apparently fine, Garry never turned up, and Mike came in for about 10 minutes before deciding it was all too much and going home!

Editors note: Mike has no recollection of this ever taking place so it must be a mistake.

How did you find & choose Webdezign in the first place?

I found it initially by googling for web design agencies in North London for work experience, I applied to 10 places and only two replied. Luckily Mike took me on which was perfect as I only lived a bus ride from the office.

Do you have any recommendations or suggestions for future interns/employees?

I would say if this is your first job then soak up the experience around you, be it technical or design or even project management related. Webdezigners (Editors note: ™ pending) are an ambitious lot and I would say to interns or new starters don’t be afraid to push the boat out on a project. Just always keep in mind someone else may be working on it so keep that code clean and documented!

Can’t get enough of Luke?

@luke_redroot on twitter

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