Hey, I’m Steve, and I’m the (Assistant) Director of Development within the Interactive Design Department of Boston University. Here’s some words and phrases: WordPress. Maker. Raspberry Pi. Incurably Curious. Solver of Problems. Lover of Science & Animals. Traveler & Collector. FOSS Enthusiast. Photography. I attend conferences and meetups as much as possible, as well as speak, guest lecture, and teach whenever the opportunity arises.
The path to my department at Boston University is: `~BU/Marketing & Communications/Creative Services/Interactive Design/`. That’s right, I lead a team of 4 other back-end developers within a department called “Interactive Design.” We work among a team of designers who write front-end code, project managers, content strategists, and all of the others that help bring a website to life.
I joined BU in 2011, as a Web Developer II. In that time, my responsibilities really only included theme development (with all of the time + effort estimates, coordinating with our designers on the front-end code (sometimes us developers would write the code, and others, the designers would), and working with our IS&T department). Back then, our department had little power within the BU ecosystem. We worked to gain responsibilities like production deploys, sandbox creation + management, plugin updates + creation, WordPress updates + testing, and a ton more I’m sure I’m forgetting.
In 2015, took on the role of Web Developer III. I hired two new developers and took on the new responsibilities of management: code reviews, mentoring, knowledge sharing, career pathing, etc. During this time, I and the rest of our department led the creation (and ownership) of and a responsive WP theme framework (instead of IS&T owning it). At this time, we were getting pretty deep into using WordPress metaboxes (to put more of the keys in the users’ hands and make site updates easier & less technical). I pushed to use a WordPress metabox framework (CMB2) to ensure our cross-theme code base was significantly more standardized and buttoned-up.
Since taking on the role of a Senior Web Developer, I have taken to constantly improving the collaboration between Interactive Design and IS&T, especially with cross-discipline complex projects and organize knowledge-sharing meetings. We’ve been doing much more plugin maintenance and creation. Along with our current Web Developer III, we’ve been pushing code quality and standards through pull requests, manual code reviews, and automated code reviews as well as integrated code linting. I also have a passion for maintaining morale and team building/collaboration: meetups and conferences, team outings, pumpkin carving during the fall, Yankee swaps during the winter, and the occasional Friday-afternoon game/downtime when our workload allows. Interactive Design is growing, so I’ll soon be managing a team of 5 or 6. What else is in the future– I’m not sure yet, but I’m excited to see what that is.