21st March 2023 •
Drupal Developer Nathan shares his passion for technology, life at Torpedo and the joys of KFC with the team!
I’m a Drupal Developer, and I joined early in 2022 to bolster the web development team.
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! ”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Drupal 8 Learning Curve pic.twitter.com/2OmurFU9C9
— Marek Sotak (@sotak) October 10, 2014
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!