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Working with Drupal for 6 years – What Tom’s learned

We are all about sharing what it’s really like to be a part of the sectors we operate in…

For this series of articles revolving around ‘wisdom’, we are catching up with a range of very experienced sector professionals to ask them what ‘key things’ they’ve learned and could pass on to those within their sector, those working in the same profession as well as the next gen of talent – beyond the actual skills it takes to do what they do.

Next up, Tom Metcalfe, Senior Web Developer at Proctor + Stevenson. Tom has worked with Drupal for 6 years at various agencies in Bristol and as a freelancer.

Now, Tom, in an attempt to capture some of the wisdom you’ve gained as a professional so far, what are “5 stand-out things” you’ve learned within the past 6 years, while working within Tech.

Tom Metcalfe

  1. Ask why. If you’ve been asked to carry out some work by a client ask why they want it, what is the value? As a developer you can often suggest things that haven’t been considered, improvements, simpler solutions, etc.
  2. Always be curious. Learn how things work and why they have been built the way they have. Not just in your day to day tech, but the wider tech world too. A lot of times the ideas/problems/solutions transcend the specific technology they are applied to. Within your own field go to conferences, see talks, listen to podcasts.
  3. In contrast, you don’t have to know everything. As the technical person in the room you will often be looked to for tech answers. Sometimes you don’t have them. Be honest about that. If you need to go and investigate something, do it. Everyone appreciates honesty.
  4. There is a time and a place for overtime. The last push to hit a deadline will be required now and again. However if you are putting in a lot of consistent overtime that can easily result in burnout which helps no one. Maintaining a good work/life balance is vital to producing good work.
  5. Finally pay it back. In my job I work with Drupal which is an open source CMS. I contribute back as much as I can with code and help organise the Bristol Drupal User Group. I’m also on the organising committee for DrupalCamp Bristol (which ADLIB kindly sponsored last year). It’s coming back this year (shameless plug).

Thank you Tom for sharing!