The Setup - Alex Bennett

As part of an ongoing series where we ask industry professionals what they use to get the job done, we speak to Alex, Front End Developer at Epiphany.

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name's Alex Bennett and I am a web technology geek, I spend most of my time working on various projects for the digital marketing agency Epiphany. While my job title is Front end developer I have become more of a full stack (even though I hate that term!). Our projects range from large web builds to small creative campaign pieces built by an awesome team in a creative studio environment.

I also organise and host Code in the Dark, an annual competition for front end devs as part of Leeds Digital Festival. We get a bunch of talented contestants together and pit them against one another in a speed coding race until we have a single winner, we like to make this contest as interesting for the audience as possible with an amazing DJ and a crazy laser show as backdrop to the coding. The audience get to see what our developers are writing & the output, we call it Code in the Dark because the contestants don't get to see the output until the timer ends!

The thing I enjoy most about what I do though are the hours I get to sit with my headphones on and get lost in my work.

What hardware do you use?

For personal development I have my ever present Macbook Pro 17", at work I am on a Dell machine with 2x 24" UHD Dell screens. I type on a Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 Gaming Keyboard and use a standard Lenovo mouse. I carry a Microsoft surface 4 around with me to meetings along with my gridded Midori notebook and Faber-Castell Mechanical pencil (one I have had for years!).

I also have a pair of Sennheiser Momentum 2's, the greatest headphones I have or probably will ever own, they are now a permanent part of my attire, even if I have no intention of listening to anything, they are usually somewhere close by!

I rock a Samsung Note 3 (old school!) It's done me well for 5 years and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, if I did upgrade though I'd 100% go for the Google Pixel.

And what software?

Sublime Text to write all my front endy bits, Visual studio for all my back endy bits, I run on Windows at work (we do a lot of .net!) but I prefer Mac OS personally. My personal laptop has parallels and a windows shard if I ever needed to work from home. I use remote desktop connection on windows to manage servers along with Filezilla and a bunch of deployment tools like Appveyor. We run on several stacks depending on the project at Epiphany too many to list really.

I always have photoshop open but our design team are trialing Zeplin and sketch out at the moment and I do prefer working off of Zeplin. We communicate as a team using Slack / Hangouts, Slack is my preferred given the extensions available and the different rooms you can create. We have a room per project, per team and everything in between and there is always a vibrant level of banter going on in one of the channels.

What would be your dream setup?

I have always wanted a Wacom Cintiq - it would probably encourage me to get back into drawing. I would have it setup in my studio at home along side my Mac Pro using a Henge Dock to connect to 2 nice big screens, id have the same keyboard I currently use at work or maybe get a Lofree keyboard.

I'd also love a DJI Mavic Pro, but honestly don't know what I would use it for.

One item you can't live without?

My Sennheiser Momentum 2's, they made me an audiophile - while cancelling all external noise they offer incredible sound quality. I usually make use of them for an average of 6 hours a day 5 days a week so didn't mind the high price point, they are without a doubt the best purchase I have ever made!

Thanks Alex!

Alex Bennett on 12th May 2017.


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