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Tuesday 1 March 2016

Funky, Freshy and Functioning: Alumnus, Craig Eldridge

Alumnus Craig Eldridge is leading the way in the world of web development. Having graduated from Solent’s BA (Hons) Web Design and Internet Technology degree in 2007, Craig is now working as a Lead Front End Developer at Bournemouth-based agency Redweb.

Over the years he has gained experience in industries ranging from digital agencies, email marketing and non-profit organisations, and worked with big name clients including Help for Heroes, Volkswagen and TNT Post.

Craig returned to Solent in February, one of a host of creative speakers at the University’s 2016 Web Development Conference. The event highlighted the career opportunities within the local digital scene to students and graduates, and kick-started collaboration with practicing professionals to support a digital design curriculum driven by the needs of the industry.

We caught up with Craig to find out about his career so far, where he sees the digital industry going, and to get his advice for current students.

craig-and-friend

What has been your biggest achievement in your work to date?

I would say it was when I worked for the charity Help for Heroes, working with the PR and marketing team to find ways to improve donations that come through their website. We ran an A:B split test of their website and one of my developments helped to increase donations by 800% in a two-week period.

What do you love about your career?

I love that I get to convert some really funky and fresh designs into fully functioning websites. Without great designers, I wouldn’t be able to make these websites; it takes two to tango!

 

table-football

What would a normal day entail for you?

I start my day with a strong cup of coffee – I’m not a morning person – and attend a morning ‘stand up’ to see what the team and I are working on for that day. Then I start a new bit of functionality for a website, or continue on what I had started the day before. It’s great that every day I get to make new code for different companies.

What are the biggest challenges you are facing in your industry?

Change. The digital industry never stops coming up with new technologies and better ways to make things. You can never sit back, it’s a constant learning curve of languages and products.

What is the most important thing you learnt at university, which prepared you for the world of work?

To be confident in what you have built. We’re all different and have different ideas on how to do things. There is no right or wrong way as long as you can solve the issue.

What was your favourite Solent memory?

I would say turning up to a lecture still wearing my fancy dress outfit from the night before as I totally forgot to take a spare change of clothes to my friend’s house. My lecturer did give me a funny look when a Ghostbuster turned up, but at least I still turned up!

Other great memories include the long nights in the IT suite working with my friends on projects and even my final-year project; the feeling of getting that done and working was awesome.

craig-plane

How do you see your industry developing in the future?

I have no idea, I would assuming having to keep up with new devices that website will be viewed on. I haven’t yet had to do a website for a smartwatch yet, but it’s still early days.

How has your career developed, and what are your future career plans?

I have worked my way through lots of different types of code-based jobs, building websites, emails and databases. I’m now doing more leading and management, and will no doubt want to be a front end director which would mean a lot of meetings and management, but I still want to code. It’s too much fun.

craig-twitter

What advice would you give to current students?

Be passionate about what you do. If you’re happy with something you have made, shout about it online and let people know about it. Networking with people is a great thing to do, it will help you make the connections you want in the industry.

Would you recommend your course and Solent to others?

The course has moved on so much since I was at Solent. It’s got so much more variety on things you can do while you’re studying, and the University is doing a lot to help students with their lives after uni.

If you’re interested in computer networking and web design degrees, visit our course pages.