A History of Web Development

web developmentpersonal

My second job out of university was at the long-forgotten, Compaq. I learned web development on-the-job (pretty much, although my interview did require me to build and present a static landing page for the company), having dabbled in it towards the end of my studies, when the web was still in its infancy. While at Compaq I helped with the creation of the online e-commerce functionality (at a very basic level) and left them to do more creative work.

My creative juices flowed at several Glasgow-based design agencies, building websites, intranets and focusing on all things digital design. However, Glasgow's creative industry in the early 2000s was pretty unstable and after a couple of years, I headed back into the corporate world.

I worked for J.P.Morgan for a couple of years, before their massive expansion in Glasgow, and then took up some more senior roles in local Government. It was here that I gradually began to slip away from the day-to-day workload of creating code and building sites, as I started to manage people and projects.

In 2015, I took a role at Hilton (after a depressing year commuting to Edinburgh) and continued a trajectory away from writing as much code as I had previously done. It wasn't something I grudged; I was doing a good job, and I enjoyed it. But my web development skills were, by now, seriously eroded.


In March 2019, I was furloughed from work for an initial period of 3 months (later extended to 6). Between March and September, although I was still employed, I did find myself with some more spare time. So, I focused on regaining some practical, development skills. I built a few sites and made an effort to ensure that when (or if) I returned to Hilton, I did so prepped for what I assumed would be a slightly different work environment.

Two things about that:

  1. I wish I'd done more reskilling
  2. I was fortunate enough to return, and my job has since required me to be more operational, i.e. actually building websites. Here's one I built after my return: Hotel Westminster

So, here we are. It's been tough year, doing a job that I was once pretty good at, but for which I'm now very rusty. But I've enjoyed building, creating, and being a different member of the team. I've still got lots to learn, though, especially since the team's tech stack is changing (and in some ways has already changed) to a more modern, React-based stack.

The learning curve is steep, but at least I'm walking uphill.