A day in the life of…Nathan, Drupal Developer at Torpedo

 head shot, Nathan, Drupal Developer

Drupal Developer Nathan shares his passion for technology, life at Torpedo and the joys of KFC with the team!

What’s your role at Torpedo, and how long have you been here?

I’m a Drupal Developer, and I joined early in 2022 to bolster the web development team.

What exactly does your role entail? Can you run us through what you might get up to today, for example?

For those that aren’t familiar, Drupal is a CMS for building high quality dynamic web experiences. Drupal is incredibly versatile, if it was a kit car it would be the size of an aircraft carrier! It’s thoroughly designed for allowing you to customise pretty much anything. But that’s where I tend to give the caveat that although anything is possible, not everything is sensible!

As a developer it’s my job to estimate and then carry out additions, changes, customisations and fixes to our Drupal sites. My time at Torpedo has so far been all on one giant project; a HUGE multilingual, international, multisite web platform with some really fiddly convolutions when it comes to data and permissions.

Drupal development sits under the Digital team, so my day starts with the Digital standup meeting – a quick fifteen minutes where all the devs, devOps and IT crew get together to review things at a really high level and check in on important updates. That ends with us listening to a song over Teams, trying to guess the title and artist. We’ve had some great weekly themes and it adds a bit of fun to the start of the day.

I’ll frequently talk with my fellow Drupal devs to iron out details, support one another through gnarly issues or just confirm that we’re doing KFC for lunch when we go to the office next!

What tools/resources/people do you depend on to get your job done?

PHPStorm is my IDE (integrated development environment) of choice (same for most of us here) but Alfred is my BEST FRIEND (check it out!) Alfred is the ultimate Mac Swiss army knife of usefulness! It saves me time everywhere, especially the clipboard history.

Our Project Managers are truly excellent. Alistair has been looking after the project I’m working on, and I’m constantly impressed by his ability to remember almost every single detail that’s ever come up in the 18 months the project has been going for. He’s been key to holding the project together, keeping us all on track and also bringing some joy that keeps us all going!

Apart from the stand-ups and check-ins, I’ll frequently talk with my fellow Drupal devs to iron out details, support one another through gnarly issues or just confirm that we’re doing KFC for lunch when we go to the office next!

What do you love most about your job at Torpedo? What’s the highlight of your day?

Drupal can be A REAL PAIN to work with sometimes…but the reward when you get to see a really complex bit of work get to Production is great. It’s really easy to just smash on with the next ticket though – I really should sit for a moment longer to reflect on all the effort, learning and success.

And what do you find the most challenging?

I’ll say it again – Drupal can be really hard sometimes!! When a scenario has many layers of context, detail, requirement, and complexity, figuring out the best or simplest solution – or indeed just any solution – can be quite the headache. But I always appreciate that my team are just a chat box or phone call away (or a ‘hey can I ask you something?’ if we’re in the office), and also that our PMs are great at noticing when the solution looks like it’s sneaking beyond the intended scope.

Is there a particular piece of work/project that you’re really proud of?

I built a lot of external database integration for my current project, which had a huge number of additional little requirements and complications. A lot of effort went into it, and a lot of learning too. It’s great to see it now out in the wild, slowly making its way to a number of regional instances around the world.

What did you see yourself doing when you were a kid?

I think I usually went with the classic options of doctor or spaceman. But I always struggled with the huge range of options and possibilities.

If you weren’t a Drupal Developer, what do you think you’d be?

Quite possibly I’d be in some other kind of software. But if I weren’t a software engineer, I’d probably be some other kind of engineer. My strengths in maths, science, logic and details make engineering a good general direction.

What made you choose this career path? How did you get where you are today?

A-levels didn’t really clarify much for me, so I started by following my interest in computing to do a Computer Science degree. Afterwards I did an internship year with my church, during which I needed a part time job. A friend of a friend worked in a Drupal agency with an office nearby to me, and they were happy to take me on. I did well at my Drupal 7 basics, and ended up going full time after my internship year. I worked and learned and grew there for six years in the end.

When your OOO is on, what are you likely to be doing?

What’s an OOO? I’ll be spending time with my family, either taking my wife on a date in Oxford or taking my little boy swimming.

 people throwing axes during an activity day

What’s your favourite memory of working at Torpedo to date?

I managed to time my start at Torpedo just right – my second week here was the week of the Spring social, which had us all throwing axes, driving go karts, driving reverse-steering cars through fields… it was an epic way to start! We also have an annual Summer Party – It’s not to be missed!

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever been given?

I like this tweet. Drupal 8 eventually became 9, then 10 – indeed we’ll always have to keep learning. That’s web technologies for you!

Interested in joining our team?

We’d love to hear from you. Why not find out more about what makes us tick and see what roles we currently have available.

Find out more