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From Web Developer to Project Manager

By Amil Vasishtha, 08 Jul 2016

My journey at Outlandish began back in February of this year. Having gone through an amazing free development course, that’s right, a FREE web development course with Founders & Coders, I was given the opportunity to get my foot through the door of the tech industry and to my luck came across Outlandish.

Chapter 0

Let me give you some background. So I had started off (the way I think most Developer’s do) by doing. Not by reading, or understanding theory, or going through tutorials – but by doing. Practice makes perfect right?

Practice makes perfect. - Imgur

I started by going through the Codecademy stuff – the HTML, jQuery and JavaScript courses in particular. I also messed around with Codewars – you should definitely check these out if Development interests you.

Chapter I

When I was working and learning with Founders & Coders I picked up so much so quickly. I was thrown in at the deep end as this was the first time I had properly been exposed to the world of code.  Here’s a list of some of the things I learnt about:

  • How to write JavaScript code
  • How to get my code on the web
  • How to host websites
  • How to run tests for my website / webapp
  • Key ideas within JavaScript

…plus some other things too!

We worked on a number of different projects before moving on to create real prototypes for real clients (some of which you can check out here: my super cool website)

Chapter II

When I joined Outlandish I was not entirely sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by the chaos. Yes, I mean chaos. I was thrown into a project (as I say, this is the best way to learn) and was working with a new stack; React front-end and WordPress API back-end.

Side note: Coding is really bloody fun! It’s problem solving, mixed with some mathematics and creative thinking; a splash of trial and error, a clash of fixing and breaking things, and a dash of (sometimes) good luck.

Another thing I love about coding is, there is never just one right answer. There are different ways to approach things and still reach the same outcome. Some methods are cleverer than others. Some are shorter. Some make no sense (to me). And some make your jaw stop, lock and drop in awe.

So I was put on a number of projects in my first few weeks and it was incredible. Working in different teams, of different sizes, understanding the dynamics of work life in the tech industry (whilst also converting from a company to a co-op) was really fun and interesting. Some days were hard and I was working long hours, just to keep up really. I had a bunch of tasks and my team were relying on me to get them done – and I did not just want to get the job done, I wanted to get it done to the best of my ability and if possible exceed everyone’s expectations including my own.

Anyways – long story short – coding is really practical, and the way I saw  it, a project comes in, a developer takes on the project, the developer completes the project – done. Simple right? Wrong.

Chapter III

I must admit – I never really properly understood the need for a Project Manager *Insert awkward smiley here* !

I mean, as time passed I did obviously start to see some benefits. That sudden realisation of “Oh great, the PM is handling that,” or “Ah, I am a little stuck with this – I better ask the PM if they are able to do x, y or z” etc etc – you get the picture.

You see, you don’t quite realise just how precious a Developer’s time is until you become a Project Manager, and you don’t quite realise just how much a Project Manager does for you until you go from a Developer to a Project Manager (well, at least that’s the case for me)!

They are the glue…nay, the nails…NAY, the glue, the nails and even the sticky tape that holds everything together!

Without the Project Manager tasks get lost in the ether, communication falls down, deliverables don’t get delivered and projects would go way over budget.


So when one of Outlandish’s PMs left to become a full time illustrator (which you can check out here) we were in need of someone to take on the role. I thought long and hard about it and decided to roll up my sleeves, step forward and get my hands well and truly dirty.

The coding I had learnt with Founders & Coders, on top of everything I had been doing at Outlandish, had given me a firm foundation in tech. But as much as I enjoy diving into the deep abyss that is my computer screen (trust me, if you stare at it for long enough, it is an abyss) it turns out I also enjoy communicating with people.

However, the most important thing to recognise is that sometimes you have to step up to the plate. In a small-medium sized organisation there may be times when a job needs to be done and you will be placed out of your comfort zone. This is not a bad thing. It’s an opportunity…an opportunity to learn, and grow and (excuse the pun but) develop yourself further. You learn things about yourself and pick up skills – whether they be industry skills or life skills, you will always gain more than you could ever lose.

It’s been really eye opening going from a Developer role to a Project Manager role, I have learnt so much about how important each role in a team is and without each one things would simply fall apart.

As cliché as it might sound, it really is all about teamwork!