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A Day in the Life: Director of Web Development

7:00 a.m.: I wake up, do the usual stuff (a quick run, shower, breakfast), then head to work. I take the train to work so I surf the Internet, browse news sites, check my LinkedIn tech groups, or read the Web sites of tech magazines I like such as Computerworld, Smashing Magazine, Web Designer, Database Magazine, and Net. The responsibilities of a director of Web development cover a mixture of programming, system management, database administration, security implementation, infrastructure design, and project management, and these publications keep me up to date with trends and technology.

9:00 a.m.: I start my workday by checking the various e-mail alerts generated by a number of automatic programs that run overnight. These might include data on the health of servers, activity logs, error logs, and security alarms, among other things. If any of these appear to signal an unusual condition, a deeper investigation might be warranted. I’ll try to reproduce the error, the first step toward actually correcting the problem.

10:00 a.m.: I check e-mails and notes from various departments of any ad hoc projects. Some may require immediate action such as fixing errors, writing programs to generate summary reports, or changes to existing programs.

11:00 am: I meet with departments requesting new projects or fine-tuning existing ones. After the meeting, the project list might have to be tweaked to bump up some projects on the priority list and to downgrade others.

12:00 p.m.: I work on some project prototypes for demo purposes, allowing the departments to comment on the prototypes before the real work is done. I eat lunch as I work.

1:00 p.m.: I meet with the Web designers to get a progress report on their work as they craft various pages for users to interact with. Sometimes this involves coaching them in Web languages such as HTML or CSS.

2:00 p.m.: I start programming some of the Web pages which could include fitting designer’s work into the Web page framework, database wire-up, error handling, and other various programming requirements before the project is ready for release.

4:00 p.m.: I continue troubleshooting, fixing issues, answering questions, running queries, and generating reports that have been requested throughout the day or are backlogged.

5:00 p.m.: I participate in a phone conference to negotiate service levels and pricing with vendors that provide various Web products, data circuits, and news feeds. I scrutinize new and ongoing contracts.

5:30 p.m.: I head home, taking some reports with to read on the train ride home.

7:00 p.m.: After a quick dinner, I head out to networking event sponsored by the local chapter of a tech association. I love my job, but it never hurts to build your network. Plus, I’m always looking for freelance Web developers during crunch time, and these events are good ways to find talent.

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