Web Courses Academy Blog

An Interview with Ben Howdle – Web developer, designer and JavaScript Expert

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
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London-based JavaScript developer Ben Howdle got into development aged 19. He started learning to code in the evenings until he managed to get his first paid client. This year Howdle has been building the next generation of KashFlow using BackboneJS.



1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Ben Howdle, a JavaScript developer working in London for a company called KashFlow.

2. Why be a web developer and what led you down this career path?

The internet doesn’t turn off, you don’t clock out. You have a 24/7 opportunity to create, help and invent. I can’t really pin point what first grabbed me about web development, but it just felt right, something I could really get stuck into. Web work is always evolving and I kinda like the fact that you can’t know everything about it, so it puts you on the level playing field with a lot of people.


3. What was the first website you made and how was that experience?

It was for a guy who had just started his own business, he paid me £30. I can’t say I learnt too much from it (it was very basic HTML with inline style tags!) and a little bit of Flash I copied from another site, but I guess it got me in front of a real person who judged my work.

4. If you can tell us, what are the projects you are currently working on?

Most of my time is, happily, spent building KashFlow’s next generation of software; a JavaScript web application talking to a REST API. It’s gonna be ace. I’m also really into MeteorJS right now, so I’m building a small web app that’s going to make it effortless to gain critique for your designs. Also a large project which is going to make learning JavaScript a whole lot easier.

5. What are the best projects you’ve worked on? Tell us about them.

My most successful project is Movies As Code, a very geeky, niche site, but a whole load of movie buff/coders seem to love it! I’d say, the project I’ve worked on is http://upfrontpodcast.com, a weekly podcast that I co-host where we discuss all that is front-end development and speak to some awesome guests! It’s a nice release to talk about this stuff every week.


6. Could you tell us what’s in your personal “toolbox”? Software, apps, hardware, books?

Software: Sublime Text 2, Chrome and Photoshop. Books: every JavaScript book I can lay my hands on, I just like to absorb it all! There’s so much knowledge out there to pick up.

7. Tell us about your best experience as a developer.

Getting my current job – it allowed me to specialise in JavaScript and there’s not too many companies willing to think ahead enough to switch their product over to something as new as a JavaScript only web application, allows me to constantly try new things and play with new tools and technologies.

8. Tell us about your worst experience as a developer.

I guess, working with some clients, it’s the bits outside of coding/developing/ designing that sometimes get in the way – emails, invoices, etc…

9. In your opinion, what is the difference between a good web designer and a great web designer?

The amount of work you put in outside of the work you are told to do, either at your job or by a client. It’s the effort that you put in off of your own passion and desire that really sets great web designers apart.

10. What advice would you give to our Web Courses Bangkok students?

Build products, sites, plugins, etc as soon as you can to compliment your learning. Take the theory that you’re learning and apply it as soon as possible! It’ll highlight what areas you need to improve on immediately…

Want to know more about Ben?

You can also find him here: dribble and github.

We would like to thank Ben for taking out the time to talk to us and answering our questions. Best of luck to him on his future endeavors.

Would you like to learn how to make great websites? Have a look at our web design courses at WebCoursesBangkok !


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