Employee Spotlight: Scott Correy, Lead Web DeveloperMarch 8, 2018
Scott Correy’s title is Lead Developer, but his job description goes much deeper. Scott began studying journalism, but turned to web development when Amazon came calling. He has worked freelance, in agencies and for a wide range of clients including state governments, native governments and corporations, in resource development and for radio stations before joining Gard in the spring of 2016.
Scott, what exactly do you do? Describe a typical day at work.
I alternate between working with clients and working with code. On the client side, I typically start my day checking emails and responding to client questions, sometimes putting out fires. On the technical side, I build websites based on the design comps I get from Julia Stoops, Gard’s web strategist and user interface designer. I’m what’s called a full-stack developer, which means I do a bit of everything rather than focus on a single specialty. My skill set is broad, ranging from database development to styling how the website is displayed to the user. There’s a lot of problem solving involved, because many projects we do require migrating an existing website to a new and better system, and that entails rebuilding things and making sure the client retains all the workflows they’ve become accustomed to. I also enjoy working aesthetically, using subtle animation techniques to make websites feel smoother and snappier – more app like.
What’s the most surprising thing about your work?
The amount of legacy websites we work with. Fifteen years ago it was still a normal thing to make a client’s first website. These days, we’re remaking websites, and there are rarely opportunities to make something from scratch. The downside to working with existing sites is working with old codebases. But when you remake a website, you get the opportunity to improve on something that already exists. When a website has been out in the world for a while, the client knows the pain points and has a desire to get those fixed.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your work?
Fixing those pain points is always a good thing. We don’t just make websites look better, we make them run better, and make them easier for clients to manage. When a client says “this is so much easier than it used to be!” that’s really satisfying. Validation from clients is great, and also validation from analytics. When you review the analytics of a site after it’s been up for a few weeks and you see a jump in usage, and that people are staying on the site longer, that’s always a good feeling.
Of all your past experiences, whether personal, educational, or professional, what’s influenced you the best for what you do now?
I would say the amount of problem solving I’ve done in my career has really prepared me to be a versatile developer today. I’ve tended to get thrown in the deep end of pretty much every job I’ve had, and that’s been great because I like figuring out how to make things work, and do things better. No matter how many web templates and pre-made systems exist, clients often need something that doesn’t quite match. I create custom-built tools that the client never sees, but that enable their website to do some special thing they have requested. In that sense, I feel like a craftsperson – like how a machinist will sometimes make a tool for a specific task. It’s the same approach.
What’s your favorite activity in your free time?
Motorcycling! My wife and I each have several motorcycles, and we don’t have a car. We travel a lot, and have been back and forth to Alaska several times. I also like cooking, with a focus on French and Japanese cuisines. Right now I’m trying to master Salmon Sorrel Troisgros. It has very few ingredients, and it’s all about technique and timing.
What are you reading right now? What’s the next book on your reading list?
Well I’m just finishing up Haynes manual for ’13 to ’16 BMW R1200 Liquid-cooled Twins. It’s 300 pages but it’s worth it because I want to be self-sufficient in maintaining my favorite motorcycle. Up next is The Portable Henry Rollins.