- Technical

Improving our skills with Dev sessions

Head shot of AshBy Ash Stevens

Recently the Si digital developers got together for the first Dev Session. The idea behind these sit-downs is to dive into a specific topic, sharing our knowledge with each other.

Often projects come and go without much opportunity to digest and share the new things we learn. Whether it’s a different methodology or updated tools and techniques, we’re always looking to advance our understanding that little bit more, both for personal development and for the benefit of our clients.

This is what’s so exciting about the web. The pace of change can be exhausting, but it’s amazing to be constantly learning, especially when it is in step with the rest of the web as it churns, buckles and sometimes crumbles away beneath our feet. Discussion helps to both crystallise our own thoughts and to teach each other by sharing ideas. Carving out dedicated time to do so ensures nobody misses out. It also means that we’re all given an opportunity to speak, even those who might usually shy away from bringing their thoughts to technical conversations.

Although the Si team specialises in different areas, we all come into contact with the frontend fairly regularly. We decided our first session should be something everyone could benefit from—how can we write better CSS? For our first session the members of the Developer Team discussed how they structure CSS; touching on BEM, componentisation, namespacespreprocessing, and file structure.

Of course, there is no single correct approach to CSS architecture. It was great to have an in-depth conversation about our various approaches, and the pain points we all sometimes struggle with.

Keep your eyes peeled for a more detailed article about the points we covered.

Our plan for the Dev Sessions is to not only cover topics that relate directly to day to day site development. We will also spend time learning about new technologies and topics that might change our thinking and make us more efficient when working on projects, both for clients and when developing our own ideas. We plan to cover areas such as VR, robotics, and functional programming concepts—in addition to more practical areas such as service workers, unit testing and internationalisation.

Since proposing the sessions, we discovered they are sometimes referred to as brown bag sessions, seemingly due to the fact that brown paper bags are a typical vehicle for lunch food (in the US, at least) and companies sometimes hold these informal sessions at lunchtime. If you hold similar sessions at your company, we’d love to hear about how you organise them, especially if you also publicly archive them.

If you don’t, consider starting one! They are a great way to spark excitement and get everybody together to share knowledge and collectively improve.

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