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A day in the life of a Tech Developer in the ecom industry

Shopify’s Future of Ecommerce 2021 Report reveals that, “at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, ten years of ecommerce growth happened in just 90 days”. Ecommerce is booming - no doubt about it. With the sheer volume of growth and change that has taken place in the ecommerce industry over the last year, companies have had to rapidly adapt and adjust their services to accommodate this growth. This has put an immense strain, not only on their support systems, but also on the development teams.

To find out more about the current development situation in the ecommerce industry, we sat down with uAfrica’s Head of Development, Billy Griffiths, to chat about what a day in the life of a tech developer looks like now.

On the day-to-day and prioritising:

Billy starts off describing that the basic outline of his day looks as follows: “After arriving at the office, I look over the work that’s currently in progress, what’s next in the queue, prioritising for the day, and then making sure that everyone is actively busy on something, ensuring that there is nothing blocking us from proceeding with that work.”

With the amount of enhancements and new features that need to be made to the platform, it is often difficult to prioritise which improvements are more important than others. The approach that Billy and his team take is to sit down and look at different parts of the business. Taking both the company and user's needs into consideration, the team examines the resources available and the urgency of the requirements. The toughest part of this process is to try and balance the needs of the company, whilst still making sure the end user is provided with the best service and product possible.

On dealing with technical issues:

Unfortunately, working in the tech environment also means software bugs and other technical issues. The uAfrica tech team puts a lot of effort into making sure these kinds of issues remain at a minimum. However, they do occur from time to time and the team thus adapts their schedules accordingly. Depending on the severity of the issue, Billy either deals with the emergency personally or it’s all hands on deck; if the problem is severe, all testing and development work stops, all of the developers get involved and the focus becomes resolving the issue as soon as possible.

On staying up to date with tech trends:

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced technology to evolve faster than ever before, and in the already fast-paced tech environment, it is vital to stay up to date with the latest developments and to continually hone your skills as a developer. Billy is well aware of the need to stay on top of trends and best practices, and is extremely grateful to be working with a like-minded team. Although he admits that it can be very time-consuming, he recognises the value in it. It is not ideal to, in a few years time, sit back and be left with legacy tech that is difficult to update and maintain. Weekly meetings with the tech team contributes to this ongoing process and aids the whole team in staying current.

On switching off:

The world is evolving at a speed that is currently very difficult to keep up with. When we asked Billy how he and his team relax amid their crazy schedules, he laughs and responds, “We don’t! Our heads are on the job 24 hours a day. I’ve got developers dreaming of work needing to go live - really! At the moment it’s still quite hectic and with the recent increase in ecommerce and ecommerce-services uptake, we had to put shoulder to the wheel and get things done. With a growing and more diverse user base comes new challenges and user requirements. This naturally translates into an increased workload and pressure on the development team. But we have a really, really good team and we’re coping extremely well.”

On transitioning into ecommerce:

It’s easier than ever for developers to move into the ecommerce industry. “If you look at platforms like Shopify, Ecwid, WooCommerce and the likes , it’s easier to get online - and the fact that it’s so easy, I think, adds to the reality that our [tech developers] workload has increased so much. Because it was so easy for people to get online when they needed to, it has caused a large influx into the industry, great for us as an ecommerce company. This has not diminished; I think people are realising the value of ecommerce now more than ever,” Billy adds.

If you are a developer and looking to move into the prosperous ecommerce industry, Billy urges you to apply at uAfrica and other companies in the online space. With the tremendous spike in the need for ecommerce and IT-related positions or work, he believes there are great similarities to the initial Internet boom of 20 years ago, where these are highly required skill sets.

The final verdict:

With business requirements on one side, user requirements on the other and a flourishing ecommerce industry, thousands of customers are in operation and expecting to be serviced. A day as a tech developer is exceptionally busy and as Billy says in his closing statement, “We are just trying our best to keep up and keep everyone happy.”

DO YOU WANT TO WORK FOR UAFRICA?

We are looking for some young, dynamic and energetic software developers to join our team in Menlyn, Pretoria! If you are interested in joining a team where you get to work with some great minds, diverse people and are given plenty of opportunities to develop yourself further, visit the Careers Page on our website.

Useful resources:
uAfrica.com
uAfrica takes the messiness out of running a successful online store. With quotes from various couriers, automated shipping labels and a multichannel feature that updates inventory and centralises order management. Logistics has never been easier!
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