Hi, I'm Ruben Arakelyan, a London-based full-stack web developer and technical leader. Find out more about me, about this site or about my PC setup.
Life As A Lead Developer
26 March 2019
In November 2018, I became one of two lead developers on GOV.UK. Coming from being a mid-level and then senior developer, the step up to becoming a lead is a large one where a lot of attributes of being a developer change and one suddenly has a lot more autonomy over many parts of the role.
Keeping Up With The Times
5 November 2018
There are a lot of services and infrastructure behind GOV.UK. Serving millions of requests on a regular basis requires a whole set of supporting services, as well as a team to look after it all and make sure it performs to its best.
Keeping the Platform Healthy
18 September 2018
GOV.UK is a large site. With dozens of apps, hundreds of publishers, tens of thousands of pages and millions of visitors, it’s no mean feat to keep it up, running and always improving.
The People's Email
26 March 2018
Over the last six months, I’ve been the technical lead of a team working to improve the email subscriptions that we offer on GOV.UK.
Thoughts on Responsible Building
26 August 2017
In my last blog post, I wrote about the new 11-week mission structure that we are working on for all GOV.UK projects. A large part of this new structure is delivering new and improved functionality without creating large amounts of technical debt. We’ve already spent a long time trying to clear up existing technical debt without creating more of it.
Experimenting with Fixed Time and Variable Scope
29 July 2017
Last time, I wrote about the new 11 week “mission” structure for all work on GOV.UK. This was a completely new way of working both for me and for many others on teams across the organisation. So how did it go after 11 weeks improving user journeys for worldwide content?
Publishing for the Rest of the World
20 March 2017
April is when the new financial year starts for GDS, and this coming year will be a bumper one. GOV.UK is changing how we all work in teams and what we’re going to be doing. This year has been all about getting the back-end working well, with transitions of existing websites and major work on publishing apps. In the coming year, we’ll be concentrating a lot more on user-facing features, and that includes where I’ll be working.
An Uneventful Christmas
31 December 2016
For most people, Christmas is very eventful — the parties, the food, the company. However, when you’re charged with making sure something is available at a time when most people will be on their holidays, you want it to be as uneventful as possible.
Hacking for the Government
21 November 2016
Firstly, if you’re here because you’re looking for a juicy story on that time when I carried out some illegal hacking activity on behalf of the government, then you’re going to be disappointed. I’m using the word “hacking” with its original meaning of a clever application of computer code to fulfil some requirement.
Interviewing Developers at GDS
16 October 2016
It was only three months ago that I was sitting opposite three people being interviewed at GDS. At the time, the one thing I didn’t think of is that three months on, I would be sitting in their place, helping run an interview for a potential developer just like me.
Supporting Users as a Developer
25 September 2016
A couple of weeks ago, it was my turn to take over, with a couple of other developers, the second line technical support of GOV.UK.
Knowing It's All Fine
4 September 2016
For most of my working life, my experience of work has been one that doesn’t finish the moment I leave the office.
7 August 2016
I don’t blog for a week, and look what happens! In the past week, Kevin Cunnington was announced as the new head of GDS, taking over from Stephen Foreshew-Cain. Naturally, there had been intense speculation about the move in the days beforehand, much of it vastly overblown but nevertheless unsettling to GDS staff.
I Did This
24 July 2016
Before I know it, it’s the end of three weeks in my new job and I’m starting to understand how all the bits fit together.
Two Weeks In
18 July 2016
Doesn’t time fly by so quickly when you’re having fun and learning? Another week has gone by and I am starting to get into the flow of things.
My First Week at GDS
10 July 2016
I started my job at the Government Digital Service at the start of this week, and what a week it’s been! Just before I started, I read Alice Bartlett’s post on Six months at the Government Digital Service. The post is so similar to my experiences so far that it very much feels like I wrote it myself. I kept that post at the back of my mind during the week, but came back to it when writing this post to see if my experiences reflect what she experienced around two years ago.
26 June 2016
Six years ago, I started my working life at a very large multi-national company. At the time, it seemed like a great opportunity — the open career path, the great benefits and a large number of graduates to embark on this journey together.