Hi, my name is Jordan Hatch, I'm seventeen, and last week I joined the development team working on the gov.uk beta. It's great to be working with so many talented developers on such an innovative project.
Lately, there's been a lot of discussion around teaching kids to code from an early age. At secondary school, I was first inspired to start coding from the small programming club there, and when I was in Year 10 and 11, my IT teacher encouraged me to build websites, apps and other programming projects for the school, alongside my studies towards an ECDL.
Back in 2009, I was very fortunate to attend the first Young Rewired State, which really sparked my interest in building projects based around open data. Following on from this, Emma at Rewired State gave me tons more opportunities (including the chance to work with COINS data before its release last June), and the rest is history I guess.
Last month, I took the difficult decision to leave full-time education and dive head-first into freelance web development, and a short time later I was on a train down to a rather-daunting London. In the short while I've been at GDS, I've built out an app to display calendars, such as bank holidays and clock change. Over the course of this fortnight's sprint, I'll be working on enhancements to the publishing workflow, amongst other things.
Working directly alongside editors who are using features you wrote is a really great experience. I especially love the hack day atmosphere of the group show-and-tell presentations at the end of each sprint.
The beta is looking great. It's coming on leaps and bounds each day, and I think everyone will be in for a treat when we hope to launch it early next year.
Comment by Really Useful Day | Government Digital Service posted on
[...] with us here. Fortunately for more technical questions I was ably supported by GDS developers Jordan Hatch and Dafydd Vaughan. They explained that we use the open source MaPit geocoding and information [...]
Comment by GOV.UK- a truly open and collaborative platform | Government Digital Service posted on
[...] with Jordan Hatch Rate this: Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. From: Beta of GOV.UK, Digital [...]
Comment by London tech mentoring – time to put your money where your mouth is :) lunches for new to London folks | Thayer Prime's Blog posted on
[...] was having a chat with the lovely Jordan Hatch at GDS earlier this week, and realised that even with all our events going on in the developer [...]
Comment by Tony Scott posted on
Good luck with the new job, Jordan!
Comment by x333xxx posted on
That is one meteoric journey - by anyone's standards - in your first couple of weeks in employment. It is quite evident that you've enjoyed every step of the way. Long may it continue!
You're a very lucky guy to be working at the heart of the Government Digital Service - you have no idea how envious I am!
I'm delighted that you did not waste an opportunity to observe end users actually using something you've developed; it is abundantly clear that the insight such encounters provide crucial information about user behaviour and to identify areas where the program might be improved in some way.
In my experience most usability issues on websites arise because the content author or developer fails to connect with their end user, whether that's a real, live human being or some character of fiction.
Without that valuable insight into customer behaviour, you've no guarantee that what you've created will actually fulfil its intended purpose or function, or fit into some bigger picture. It may look the bees' knees, it may have those fabulous bells and whistles, and a lovely crisp 'boing' noise when a field fails to validate, and you may think it's bloomin' fabulous. But if the end user cannot use it easily, or the user interface is poor, etc., then all the bells and whistles in the world won't cover up the fact that you've failed on essentials.
Just remember your customer in everything you do and you won't go far wrong.
I hope to have an opportunity to meet you at some point. I'd really like to share with you some of my experiences of website management, including application design standards. Here's a 'starter for ten': imagine a friend is taking you to Achiltibuie next weekend ... have you ever been there?
I wish you every success in your career - I reckon your name is going to become very familiar to many in the future.
Comment by BraveNewTalent Blog » Blog Archive » In praise of talent: young developers taking the world by storm - Career Social Network posted on
[...] their project happen. He got into open data projects through Young Rewired State, and has also written a very eloquent blog post about his journey so far, which is well worth a [...]
Comment by the hatter posted on
Congratulations on landing your job, may you be a role model for other talented teenagers who have no need to waste their time and money, and government money, on academia. I hope you're proud to be both self-supporting and tax-paying, and I know you won't regret sidestepping the supposedly inevitable path that many people fall or are pushed into, as you continue to drive your own education along with what you learn from your coworkers (and what you teach them).
Comment by Alexis Bailey posted on
You make me feel really old! When I was at school I was eating Skittles and making friendship bracelets not designing website and learning code. Good luck with the project.
Comment by Mark Willis posted on
Crikey Jordan. You make me feel SO old and SO bloomin' proud to be working in govt at the same time as you and so many of your amazingly cool, intelligent and talented (and young!) IT experts. Are we truly at the dawn when govt IT will bring VFM to taxpayers and be fit for purpose for users? With chaps like you involved I suspect we might be. Right...now where are my comfy slippers and reading specs!
Comment by Michelle Scott posted on
And your IT teacher is immensely proud of you - as a programmer and as a person. Well done. x