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Meet the team: Mike Smith

Written by
Andrew Flynn
Published on
4/4/2024
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In the latest edition of our staff profile series, we’re introducing you to Mike Smith, who celebrated a phenomenal ten years with Venditan this past fortnight.

Hello, Mike! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Venditan.

Hello! I'm Mike, a local lad born and raised in Manchester.

It's hard to believe, but I've been with Venditan for a decade now - as they say, time flies when you're having fun! Over the years, I've taken on a couple of different roles within the company.

Initially, I joined as the first dedicated developer on our work with Sigma Sports. Since then, I've been a constant as the team has grown. Leveraging my expanding knowledge and experience, I've transitioned into a tech lead role, providing support and guidance from a technical standpoint, as well as continuing to work directly on development projects.

Tell us something we may not know about you!

Something you may not know about me is that I've always had an interest in aviation. When I was younger, I dreamed of becoming a pilot, and that fascination still holds today. I love flying, and I am interested in taking up flying lessons at some point in the future.

What does your average day at Venditan look like?

My average working day starts with checking any overnight automated alert emails from the systems we use and integrate with. 99.9% of them go straight in the bin but you can’t take any chances, of course!

If I'm focused on a project, my mornings and afternoons can resemble each other as I dive into head-down work. On these days, my primary focus is on project tasks and goals.

However, there are days when I need to be more reactive to situations that require support. In these instances, my day may involve troubleshooting and addressing immediate issues as they arise. Additionally, we have a team standup three times a week to ensure effective communication and alignment.

What is the best advice you could give to someone starting in development?

If you're starting in eCommerce development, my advice is to dive right in.

Practice, read extensively, and build a variety of projects to gain hands-on experience. Don't hesitate to ask questions, whether at work or online; platforms like Reddit can be invaluable for learning.

Formal training opportunities are minimal, you should throw yourself into the job and learn as you go. While I pursued a computer science degree, in today's landscape, I would probably explore more diverse options beyond university, considering the broader range of available resources and potential debt.

Are there any eCommerce or retail trends that you find particularly interesting?

I find the discussions around AI replacements in eCommerce and retail quite intriguing, albeit somewhat apprehensive. While there's immense potential for AI, there's also a looming sense of uncertainty about its widespread adoption. We're on the brink of significant changes, but the possibility of AI rendering much of our current technology redundant raises concerns. Despite the apprehension, I recognise the importance of staying informed and prepared for the evolving landscape.

Additionally, beyond eCommerce and retail, I'm intrigued by technology stacks like Laravel and Symfony, which I enjoy exploring outside of work.

Give us an example of something you have learned over your 10 years at Venditan.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes. It's through this that we learn and grow. Embracing mistakes as a part of the learning process has allowed me to continually improve in my role.

What does a typical weekend look like in the life of Mike?

Living in Macclesfield, on the edge of the Peak District, I'm fortunate to have access to a variety of great hiking routes. That’s provided the weather cooperates which has been a rare occurrence this year, to say the least!

I’ve also taken up cycling which I’m looking forward to doing more of as the weather improves.

...and finally, what are your long-term career goals?

I’ll be happy enough as long as I’m not replaced by a robot…

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