I’ve been at BU for 9 years.

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 about 12 designers who write front-end code– as well as project managers, content strategists, and all of the others that help bring a website to life. We do all things between:

  • Managing a university-wide WordPress parent theme/framework.
  • Develop all manner of customizations using child themes build on that parent theme/framework.
  • Create and maintain university-wide WordPress plugins
  • The occasional static site, usually JavaScript-heavy
  • Manage the department’s build process, continuous integration, and deployments
  • Mentor and train designers & producers

My Growth & Responsibilities:

Web Developer I:
I joined BU in Nov 2011. During that time, my responsibilities really only included very light WordPress theme development and front-end development: mostly doing as much as possible with built-in functionality, code-in-the-content, shortcodes, widgets, taxonomies, and JavaScript-based things like profiles/programs filtering. Also, I was the frontend developer on many highly custom and interactive editorial articles. I slowly ramped up with custom page templates and heavy taxonomy work, as projects required.

Web Developer II:
In May of 2013, I was promoted to a Web Developer 2. We were still mostly working in the space that IS&T allowed us to in the scope of the BU environments. We slowly and steadily proved our proficiency with PHP, WordPress, and source control. 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. Those increasing responsibilities, along with increasing site design complexity equated to more custom themes, custom templates, and even more taxonomies and JavaScript filtering. We were also lightly adding WP-native custom metaboxes to give clients a level of control over their content while reducing the potential to break our custom code.

Web Developer III:
In July of 2015, I took on the role of Web Developer III. Shortly after I was promoted, the Web Developer II and Lead Developer quit. I assumed those responsibilities immediately: interviewed and hired two new developers, 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 parent theme/theme framework (instead of IS&T owning it). We were getting pretty deep into using WordPress metaboxes. I pushed to use a WordPress metabox framework (CMB2) to ensure our cross-theme code base was significantly more standardized and buttoned-up.

Senior Web Developer:
In May of 2016, I was promoted to Senior Web Developer. I had 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 Web Developer III, we’ve been pushing code quality and standards through pull requests, code reviews, and automated continuous integration testing 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.

Director of Web Development:
In May of 2018, I was promoted to the newly created position of Director of Web Development. I wrote the job description myself, with input from my manager. The department expansion was in full force, so in order to ensure a stable reporting and support structure, one of the main goals of this move was to solidify the developers, not simply as a support role in the department, but as its own unit with unique priorities, roadmaps, and projects.

In this role, I am additionally responsible for interfacing with, guiding, and reviewing code from outside vendors and agencies providing us staff augmentation. I also get to have more influence in department-wide roadmaps and planning/decisions.

Interactive Timeline of My Career Growth:

This is specifically to show my growth from an individual developer to the Director of Web Development, along with some of the key relevant reporting structure, like who I reported to, and who reported to me– as well as the overall growth in size and seniority/skillset of the development team. Note: names have been changed for anonymity.

Hover over/click/tap on the glowing dots for more information about each event.

Legend

Me

My Direct Reports

My Manager

Other Developers

Other Management

Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan - Today
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
VP, MarCom VP, MarCom VP, MarCom
Creative Director Executive Creative Director Executive Creative Director Executive Creative Director Executive Creative Director Creative Director
Lead Developer Director of Development
Senior Developer
Dev 2: Alvin Dev 3 Dev 3: Brendan
Web Developer 2 Dev 2: Jane Dev 2: Jane
Web Developer 1 Dev 1: Patricia Dev 2: Patricia Dev 2: Louisa Dev 3: Louisa
Dev 1: Libby Dev 1: Libby Dev 2: Libby
Dev 3: Jeremy
Dev 3: Fabien