What is a mobile web developer? A frequently asked question…

If there was ever a poll of the most frequently asked question, this could be the most unilateral one, right behind someone asking your name.

It’s Michael, incase you didn’t know and I’m a web developer, specialising in mobile and responsive websites at a lovely company called Burning Red!

The truth is, my job description doesn’t mean anything to most people, thats not a problem, I work in a technical industry and someone outside my industry can be forgiven for not knowing. I joke with my friends that we should all boil our job descriptions down to a “big letters written in crayon” version of our job title. One of my best friends is a development officer for the European government (I think that’s correct), in truth I would describe him as a schmooser. This isn’t the only one, Digital marketer and web statistics analyst…in fact right now, I’m going through my friends in my head and quite a few of them, I’m going with…they work in an office or a shop..you get the idea.

I wrote a blog for my fine employer, not so long ago about making your website mobile friendly, it was a more focussed piece on how and why you can make your website work harder by making it mobile ready. This is what I do for a living.

I’ve often joked that my parents don’t have a clue what I really do, so my aim here is to write something that they would understand.

What do I do for a living?

I make websites.

I write code that turns the visuals that a web designer has created into a functional web site. (If you fancy reading about what a web designer does, read this blog by my friend Dan)

I don’t design websites, although I do have a part in the design process because the designer and I will have discussions about whether this feature/idea can be achieved.

“Can you make these social media buttons spin when I hover over it?” (that means put you mouse cursor over it Mum, because you are probably reading this)

“Yes, yes I can.”

Think of it this way, a writer pens a script and actor brings it to life.

Its the same with a web designer and developer. A designer handles the first stage and then its over to me for the second stage.

The web designer goes to work, we talk during the first stage, going over different variation design until we are happy (and the client has signed off the design) and then its over to me.

I start writing code, checking with the designer, making sure they are happy with how the website works based on their concepts. After some work (and the clients approval), the website is then set free into the world wide web!

I write in 4 different coding languages, HTML, CSS, jQuery and PHP. Each one is important for different reasons.

If I was to compared these coding language it a Lego set…

HTML is the bricks. CSS is the instructions, jQuery is what makes it Lego Technic and PHP is the brick makers back at the Lego factory.

With me so far?

What is a mobile/responsive web developer?

Right, now this is going to get a little more complicated, and as I’m trying to write this for my Mum (hello again Mum), the simple version is…

I make websites that can work on your computer, your laptop, your tablet and phone and change size and layout appropriately. This means you can access the same information on the website in a way that best suits the device you are using.

Someone took the time to make a video about a mobile site I worked on…

This video’s existence blows my mind! It’s incredibly humbling to know that some of the code that I wrote means enough to people to warrant a promotional video!

If you are wondering what the responsive bit of my job title is about, well, that’s what a website that changes size and shape is called, a responsive web site.

Why is it called mobile/responsive web developer?

Its much the same thing, just a different terminology.

To sum up, in the big letters in crayon version:

Hello there. My names Michael. I write code for websites that makes them work on your computer and your mobile phone.

With me? Yes? Good. No? Tough.

If you are interested in using my mad skills please feel free to contact Burning Red.

14. October 2013 by Michael Partridge
Categories: Design, General | Leave a comment

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