02 May 2016

Squiz Q&A with Web Solutions Consultant, James Morgan 

Tags:Squiz, Development, Culture

Since 1998, Squizzers have been striving to make the world a better place. This series aims to expose the raw talent, big ideas, creativity and vision, output by these remarkable individuals each and every day.

Web Solutions Consultant, James Morgan has been with Squiz for 2 ½ years. Here he talks about getting his hands dirty with the latest in JavaScript and how to stay level-headed when the pressure's on.

Squiz: In which office are you based James?

Morgan: Sydney

James, tell us a bit about where you’re from?

I was born in England, Bristol, but I grew up in the Middle East. My dad got a job out in Qatar as soon as I was born. We went there for twelve years, and then came back to Bristol for a bit, before I went to University in Wales.

Where did you go to university?

I went to The University of Glamorgan at the time, but it’s Cardiff now. I studied computer science.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid I was actually really into tennis. I wanted to go pro and become one of those legends that played in the Qatar Open.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Squiz?

I love how approachable everybody is and friendly. I love all the different challenges as well, how every client is super different with really interesting requirements.

What challenges you?

What challenges me now is pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Just in the last few months, I’ve moved from being an implementer into this technical consultant role. I’m going to meetings, and liaising with clients, and I’m doing a lot of ‘talking’ now as opposed to coding. I’m still glad I went through the whole implementer and website building role, because that’s given me all the right knowledge to use in conversations with clients, to work out what’s feasible and how long things are going to take.

What are you excited about?

Really complex solutions and really dynamic pages and new things that clients want that we haven’t done before.

And in tech?

I’m loving server-side JavaScript; Node.js is the new awesome thing and there’s actually a CMS like Matrix, that instead of being written in PHP, it’s written in node, or server-side JavaScript, and I’m playing around with that now. It’s just a new way of using JavaScript, and as far as I know, it’s the first CMS that’s based on JavaScript back-end, which is really, really exciting for me. It’s all customisable using JavaScript, all written in JavaScript, modifications that you want to make in the back-end, they’re all JavaScript… you can probably tell I love JavaScript.

Do you have any advice from your current self to your old self?

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it done as quickly as possible. I was a bit of a stresser back then, especially when doing support tickets. If something is broken and it has to be done straight away, make sure you talk to people a lot. Keep talking to your project manager and technical consultant on the project, because they need to know how well you’re doing, or how unsuccessful you’ve been. It’s not your fault if you’re completely failing at this task right now. It’s only a problem if you don’t tell anyone you’re failing.

What does an average day look like for you?

So many different things in a day now, whereas when I was an implementer, it was one project, and I lived and breathed that one project. Now it’s awesome, it’s pushing my comfort zone. Sometimes I need to have a look at all the cool, new stuff we’ve been doing recently to showcase to a particular client. And then quotes, so working out if a client wants to have this or this animated, and that moving around in the page, and how long is that going to take, 10 hours… 20 hours, you know, calculating the days of implementation involved.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I love kite sports – people think of a little single - stringed, Mary Poppins thing, but it’s the surfing kites- those massive kites where you have a surfboard attached. I wakeboard and snowboard as well. I love all extreme sports really.

Tell us something funny that’s happened to you at work.

The nerf gun wars were pretty funny. In my first few months of being at Squiz, I got hit 3 times on the forehead in the same day and these Nerf bullets are not that soft. When they’re coming full velocity and whack you right on your bonce then it’s pretty painful and I got nailed 3 times.

James will be tweeting his week at work at @lifeatsquiz from May 2 - May 6. Follow along to see what he gets up to on a day-to-day basis.

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