is a blog written by me, Matt Hobbs. I’m a Web Developer based in Oxfordshire, UK. I specialise in Frontend web production, which involves usability, cross-browser testing, accessibility and search engine optimisation among many (many!) other things.

As an experienced Frontend Developer for many years, now turned Full-time Engineering Manager, I enjoy building and nurturing teams to reach their maximum potential.

I'm an advocate for building websites that are open and inclusive for all users, this requires using Progressive Enhancement, and examining Accessibility and Web Performance during the build process.

My positive and flexible attitude to challenges, combined with a passion for achieving results through analysis and creative thinking, makes me an experienced asset to any technical team.

I have experience of public speaking at conferences and have been involved in several Podcasts on Website performance.

I enjoy writing blog posts about Web Performance and publishing them on my personal blog, and have written many improvements to GOV.UK and related guidance (e.g. the Service Manual & GDS Service Standard).

Furthermore, I enjoy making websites that are fast, and teaching others how to achieve this too. This often involves auditing, planning, setting team and community strategy and communicating between multiple teams and levels of management.

In April 2021, I was diagnosed with a grade 3 brain tumour (named Gary). I endured 7 hours of open-head brain surgery, 33 rounds of radiotherapy, and 4 cycles of chemotherapy, before making a complete recovery and starting work again in January 2022. This has been an incredibly challenging and unique journey. I feel my resilience and strength of character has been hugely instrumental in the success of my recovery, and will continue to shape my career in the years to come.

In the past, I've had experience developing and deploying websites using WordPress, Drupal, MODx, Symfony, Sitecore, Umbraco and Adobe AEM.

Most recent work experience

Head of Frontend Development, Lead Developer - Government Digital Service (London)

August 2017 - Present

  • Head of Community for 30+ Frontend developers across the department, ranging from Junior to Lead level
  • Mentor junior technologists in best practices across a range of expertise, both within the department and across government.
  • Heavily involved in the recruitment of Frontend Developers at GDS and in other government departments.
  • Line-manage developers of various levels and disciplines across the department.
  • Encourage positive and constructive communication, within communities and teams across GDS.
  • Ensure the community has the correct processes in place to deliver quality solutions and can address problems at source.
  • Work with Technical Architects, Product Managers and Senior Management to identify and address technical, cultural and delivery issues.
  • Facilitate daily stand-ups, team meetings, sizing and planning meetings, and incident retrospectives.
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with other development teams within GDS and across government.
  • Help colleagues and Civil Servants across the UK government with their web performance difficulties.
  • Promote GDS and GOV.UK via various social media channels, blogging and public speaking events.
  • Evangelise, research, create proof of concepts and introduce new technologies to the teams and internal communities.
  • Set Departmental strategy for the future of Frontend across GDS Services.
  • Worked to get Frontend Development recognised in the DDaT Capability Framework, so all departments across the UK Government understand what a Frontend Developer is and the skills they require to do the job.

Lead Interface Developer - DigitasLBi (London)

September 2013 - August 2017

  • Lead, line and performance manage the Frontend team within the portfolio, ensuring skills within the team remain current and relevant to client needs, and fostering a culture that rewards results, learning and delivering client value.
  • Ensure development approaches remain contemporary and aligned with the broader development community.
  • Establish and maintain conventions and standards for internal and client reference.
  • Perform the Frontend lead role on individual projects, and provide an oversight role on projects where not providing direct leadership.
  • Contribute to project statements of work from a Frontend perspective.
  • Contribute to achievable technical project plans, and deliver and protect estimates. Highlight technical issues and risks on an ongoing basis.
  • Work with technical and non-technical teams at all levels, from strategy and design, through to development, testing and application support.
  • Represent work and capabilities to clients, and participate in a supporting role as a technology domain expert in client pitch situations.

Frontend Team Lead - Isobar (Sydney)

June 2012 - July 2013

  • Coding for both long and short term projects using responsive, reusable CSS and HTML templated code.
  • Project scoping, planning, quotes and resourcing.
  • Researching new technologies and how they can be utilised to improve in-house processes.
  • Promoting quality across Frontend team deliverables.
  • Evaluating and recruiting developers to expand the team.
  • Leading a team of developers, helping them progress and learn with regular team code reviews.
  • Striving to improve in-house Frontend processes to achieve seamless work-flow and team integration.
  • Client-facing technical consultation including offshore project liaison.
  • Providing feedback to project management, internal creative, UX and the client regarding user experience best practices and accessibility guidelines.
  • Experienced in managing multiple projects running concurrently.

For more information around my work experience and skillset see my LinkedIn profile.