Network Service

Network Service

Where my career began


7 min read


A high school student began their IT career by working as an intern at a small web agency called Network Service. After two years and six months, they left due to the legacy tech stack and delivery time issues. This article is the first of six in a series about the author's career, focusing on the importance of perspectives and how the author should not have challenged them.

It was June 2015, to be precise, and my final exam to graduate from high school was just one month away.

Because of various reasons, I had to begin working instead of solely attending university.

Thus, I started searching for local companies to see if I could find any opportunities that would help me kick-start my career in the IT industry, as that was my desired path. The world I discovered was truly astonishing.

After two weeks of searching, I came across a small web agency called Network Service and realized that I shared mutual friends with one of the partners.

πŸ“œ CV and interview

After two weeks of searching for a role in the industry, I discovered a company where I had some mutual friends.

I can still recall saying:

"Let's try this. I'm scared because this will be my first job in the industry, but I have to take my shot."

and then my friend told me:

"Send me your CV so I can share it with them, but send it to them too"


I had never written a CV for this industry, and all my experience was unrelated to it. So, what should I include in the CV?

Ultimately, I decided to write about my education, my reasons for wanting the job, and a project I had completed with a classmate for our final exam.

Final exam project
My classmate and I did this website as a project for our final exam: It started as an idea of my classmate and we ended up with the website. (The original version is TOTALLY different, my classmate is still updating and growing his idea)

πŸ•΅πŸ½ The interview

Another week went by, and I received a call from them; they wanted to conduct an interview.

I remember feeling both elated and nervous simultaneously.

We agreed on a date, and suddenly, it became real: "I HAVE AN INTERVIEW!"

I had to call my friend and express my gratitude for the opportunity they provided by referring me.

πŸ“… The DAY.

It's happening; it is the day of the interview.

I drove to the office, rang the bell, and entered.

Upon arrival, I was welcomed by one of the company partners.

We engaged in some small talk before the interview commenced.

It proceeded smoothly, and we discussed why I wanted this position as my first job, my knowledge, and so on.

For the behavioral portion of the interview, I spoke with the partners and the head of the engineering team.

The company was quite small, consisting of only 8 engineers, 6 marketers, the partners, and the front office staff.

Two days later, I received a call from them, expressing their desire to hire me.

It was incredibly exciting, as they were willing to take a chance on me despite my lack of experience.

πŸ‘¨πŸ½β€πŸ’»My role

I was hired as an intern, as it was my first job.

My primary duties involved coding websites for hotels and restaurants.

Within a few weeks, the head of engineering, who also served as the head of design, onboarded me.

He showed me how they built websites, the technologies they used, and so on.

πŸ–₯️ Tech stack

As I was focused mostly on the front-end side, I worked primarily on website development.

The company had a custom CMS written in PHP to manage the content of the websites and provide customers with the ability to add, edit, or remove sections and other elements from their websites.

The websites were built from scratch (each time starting from a "template") using only HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (actually, we were using jQuery; back in the days when ES6 was emerging and jQuery was a lifesaver, the world has changed a lot since those days).

After a few months, I became so proficient that I was given more responsibilities, such as implementing Google Tag Manager to handle Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, and other marketing tasks.

I also had to study Apache and Nginx to manage redirects and other server-related tasks to improve the website's SEO.

πŸšͺThe end of my adventure

I left Network Service after two years and six months.

But, which were the reasons for this?

Let's find out together!

πŸ’» Legacy tech stack

The biggest reason for leaving was the tech stack.

I have to thank a lot Network Service and all my teammates for the opportunity, but after two years I noticed I was not growing anymore my tech skills as the stack was stuck.

Why the stack was stuck?

Well, there were multiple reasons:

  • Delivery time

  • Different visions

🚚 Delivery time

Like most of the small companies we have here in Italy, the delivery time of websites or any other type of project is often discussed.

Most companies still don't understand the importance of mediating the delivery time between the client and the engineering team.

This was the biggest issue from my point of view.

I had different discussions with the partners of the company about improving this area through mediation between them and the client.

They never accepted.

Probably, it was also my fault!

As it was my first experience, I didn't have the soft skills I have now. I argued with them at different times, although we know it's not good behavior during a negotiation.

At different times, most of the team members were under pressure due to the strict deadlines and the quantity of the workload we had.

πŸ’» Different visions

It's 2017, Webpack and other bundlers were rising, yet we were still serving un-minified and un-uglified CSS and JS.

As a result, any person with minimal experience in web development could easily steal our code just by opening the DevTools.

After introducing Gulp for running tasks to minify, uglify, and other perks of our code, I wanted to take our DX to another level.

I wanted to introduce a templating system like Handlebars and bundle our code via Webpack to benefit from smaller chunks and all the things we never bothered with at the time, as they were the "basics."

The head of the engineering team saw this as something complicated that would never give us any benefit due to the size of the engineering team and all the tasks we had to complete.

It was at that point that I understood I had to change something to be able to improve my skills even further.

That's pretty much the story.

For different, and obvious, reasons, I skipped some parts of my journey in the company.

βœ… Lessons learned

I have to acknowledge that without Network Service, I probably would not be where I am right now, both professionally and personally.

I really understood how the web works in a more detailed way, how to create a website from scratch, and a bunch of other marketing things that are always useful.

❌ Errors I did

I made a lot of errors, and I don't want to use it as an excuse, but it was my first experience.

I definitely had too many discussions with both the head of engineering and the partners, often for trivial reasons.

Today, I would probably approach these discussions in a completely different way and tone.

πŸ‘€ Looking back

Now, after eight years of experience in the industry and working with various companies, I can offer a wealth of advice to my younger self on how to approach situations from different perspectives and with alternative strategies.

For instance, I now understand the challenges of managing a customer, both from technical and financial standpoints.

Delivering results is always difficult for both sales and engineering teams, but we, as engineers, should not solely focus on doing things the "right" way.

There are challenges, contracts, and a multitude of other factors that can impact a project, and we cannot always work in the ideal manner we desire.

I now clearly recognize the importance of their perspectives and how I should not have challenged them.

I hope you enjoyed this article, the first of six (for now) about my career.

This series will be a prequel to others focusing on specific topics, so stay tuned and let me know in the comments if you want to discuss a specific section or topic.

πŸ•ΊπŸ½ Your lovely neighborhood dancing engineer πŸ•ΊπŸ½