Life as a Lead Developer at MTVH

About me

I joined MTVH in 2017 to help the Digital team bring development in-house.
My background has been within the world of digital agencies for over 20 plus years, working primarily with PHP, but I have been exposed to a rich variety of technologies over the years which I wont list out 😊

Technologies that we use

Here at MTVH we have a pretty varied technology stack. The core technologies that the team use though are:

  • Ruby
  • Php
  • JavaScript

However, whilst those are our core languages, we are always willing to explore others. When I first started at MTVH, we were exploring phone applications, and I ended up spending a lot of time developing a proof of concept in Java/Android to explore the viability of the idea. We will always look at technology to see how it could benefit the team and the business, and evaluate accordingly.

Right now we continue to focus on native web and are looking at more recent technologies such as REACT and progressive web applications to improve the experience of using our applications. In line with this we are evaluating technologies such as Gatsby to see if this technology could unify our “front ends” and streamline the development process.

We have several Database technologies that we use ranging form the traditional Microsoft SQL server to newer NoSQL databases which are used for our data warehousing. We are also examining the feasibility of exposing some of our data using GraphQL which I am extremely excited about.

We also develop using Docker which we have wholly embraced. Docker is an awesome tool that can mirror our live servers on our own MTVH laptops. (yes, we have high quality laptops for development purposes).

The good

We can focus on what we need to do as a Housing Association. The key thing is that “we” (our customers and the business) are the client. We decide what is important or not.

Coming from a background of working with the client, being the client is a fundamental shift for the good in my opinion. As a team we are working with our residents and colleagues to build stable, accessible, engaging and useful web applications.

What my day entails

So, what does an average day at MTVH bring for me during lock down?

As we are all working remotely and have been doing so since the beginning of March, we have continued pretty much as we did do before lockdown. We have team stand-ups starting from 9:30, and as the lead I will join the 3 stand ups between the various teams.

I am still very much hands on, and I will get my hands dirty on the coal face developing enhancements to our various web products. In addition, I am always available to support the team with any “Docker” issues that may arise; with some of our applications the infrastructure stack is quite complex, and some strangeness can emerge.

The thing that I do like though about my days at MTVH is that you never quite know what your day will bring. We have great relationships with our colleagues in the business and we will try and help and support them where we can.

The future

We are at the start of our journey, and as part of that journey we are currently investigating and improving:

  • our internal development processes
  • our design processes
  • continuing to build the team

I am really excited about what the future will bring. With the advent of technologies such as augmented / virtual reality, I can see that potentially these sorts of technologies really could help our residents and colleagues.

But the key thing is that the digital team is brilliant, and an absolute joy to work with!

Lead Developer at MTVH