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A day in the life of… Web Developer Farhan Sabir


The latest in our ‘day in the life of’ series, helping you to see beyond the Angry Creative brand and get to know our incredible team.

David Lockie: So Farhan tell me your backstory, how did you end up working in tech?

I always wanted to be a mechanical engineer actually. That also made my mum really happy and I loved my mum. So it was like a mutual connection between us that she’s gonna help me be a mechanical engineer.

DL: What did you want to do with that? What was it about being a mechanical engineer that you loved?

Whenever I used to see cars or motorbikes, it always used to just fascinate me. It would be so nice to build cars or motorbikes. I had no clue that that is not something that you actually study in mechanical engineering!

DL: This was back in Pakistan?

I was in Pakistan. Yes. Just before my bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately, when I applied for the universities, because mechanical engineering is a very competitive programme back in Pakistan, I could not get in. So the second choice that I had was Computer Engineering. I used to code a little bit, but it wasn’t my dream but that’s the opportunity I had. So that’s how I ended up being a programmer.

Illustration of a programmer

DL: Do you think you’ll ever go back to that mechanical engineering, do you have hobbies like building drones? Or do you think that when you retire you will tinker with motorbikes? Do you still have that love for mechanical engineering?

It’s a very funny thing that I do not have that same feeling now. Over the years, I have tried quite a lot of things. And the only thing that I could see myself doing apart from freelancing is event management. When I was doing my bachelor’s, I started with this organisation called ACM (Association for Computing Machinery).

I started as a photographer with them and eventually I went into organising events for them. And that’s something that I really, really loved. I can see myself being an event manager if I would not be the developer or programmer. Being a programmer is something that pays well back in Pakistan. And of course, a man’s got to pay the bills. So I couldn’t do it full time. And now here I am, being a programmer!

DL: It sounds like you might be a good candidate to run a local WordPress meetup or maybe volunteer at a big WordCamp. Events are a really important part of the WordPress ecosystem.

Before I’d been to a WordCamp, I always found WordPress really interesting and helpful, the community was incredible online. But then, after maybe five years of working with the project, actually going to a WordCamp and meeting all these other people that had all these different experiences, it totally transformed my relationship with WordPress. I think for a lot of people, the event side of things is really important.

So maybe we can find a way to channel your love for event management as well as being a web developer!

I think that would be really nice because it’s been a while since I’ve done a professional or academic event. 

DL: So you were freelancing as a web developer before joining Angry Creative, right?


DL: And how long was that for?

I think I did that for four or five years.

DL: Okay, and was that like primarily with WordPress? Or was that other technologies as well? Or did you kind of find WordPress pretty early on and start specialising?

So either it was template development, not in WordPress – just simple HTML template development, or it was a WordPress project, because usually these kinds of projects are easier to get when you are a freelancer, and they pay a decent amount.

DL: Okay, so going from working as a freelancer to working in an agency, I always compare it to you stop being like a one man band on the street corner, and instead you become part of an orchestra. You choose, like a couple of instruments and you can develop your skills there. That was my experience or the experience I’ve watched other people go through. What’s that experience been like for you going from Freelancer to being part of an agency?

What I missed doing freelancing was the connection with my colleagues. Because before freelancing, I was an employee at a different company. That’s something that I missed because in that way, you get to learn quite a lot of things every single day. By talking to your colleagues, it could be technical, it could be you know like a life changing thing or anything. So that brought me back to the employment lifestyle and I guess you are very correct where you know you are just just a solo singer whatever on the street corner and now you get to synchronise what you do in regards to all your peers and then just by knowledge sharing it takes you to another level so that’s something that I was missing being a freelancer. That’s where Angry fulfilled this gap. I used to talk to clients all by myself. I used to programme all by myself so that’s still happening the same here at Angry but what has changed is working with colleagues and sharing things every single day.

DL: That’s really cool. And is there anything that you miss about being Freelancer or have found challenging joining an agency?

Scheduling? I am terrible at scheduling my day. So with freelancing I could even work at 3am if I want to. That is still the case with Angry but with slight limitations that we have to be present during the day for a few hours so I find that a bit challenging. I’m working on it but it’s still challenging.

Farhan Sabir
Farhan Sabir in the Swedish snow

DL: You’re a bit of a night owl?

I am! I most definitely am!

DL: Well that’s a reasonable challenge to have I guess. But then I guess if you weren’t present during those daytime hours with everyone else then you wouldn’t get the benefit of working with everyone. So yeah, a tough one to balance.

Yes, yes. It’s like you gotta sacrifice something to get something

DL: So I guess that leads us nicely on. Can you tell me about what a day in the life of Farhan looks like?

We’ve already established the fact that I’m not a morning person! So I wake up around 830, quickly take a shower and get to work. So something that’s missing in that regard is a very nice breakfast. I’m a believer that there’s like two types of people – one believes that breakfast is a very important meal and the other is more into dinner. I’m on the breakfast side which is missing from my life because again I’m not a morning person so when I wake up I have very little time to get to work!

DL: What’s your favourite breakfast? If you could have anything in the world would it be like a Swedish breakfast? Or would it be a Pakistani or English breakfast? 

It will be a Pakistani breakfast. What I would love to do is to have a paratha with a fried egg or maybe two. Yeah. And then a very nice cup of Chai. Okay. That would be my ideal breakfast.

DL: Can you make paratha yourself? Or have you found somewhere good to buy them? Like, do you actually have this breakfast much? Or is it a dream?

For like a year or so I was eating a lot of paratha. My sister lives like 40 minutes away from me. So she used to make them, but not fry them, just freeze them.

DL: And you’d visit her and bring them back?

Yeah, so I’d have one every morning and fry an egg and then make some tea. Perfect. So that was my breakfast before I started working at Angry. But since I started working at Angry that has gone from my life 🙁

DL: How about the weekends? Do you like to treat yourself then?

I actually do. Yes, I either do an omelette with, or a fried egg. And some tea with it. So yeah, on the weekend, I treat myself nicely.

DL: Amazing. 

So whenever I feel like I’m homesick or whenever I feel like I need to eat properly. Then I go to my sister’s and I tell her in advance that I’m coming so that she could cook something amazing. Oh wow. She’s an amazing cook. So that’s my escape from reality.

Illustration of eating together

DL: And what’s the best thing she cooks? What’s your favourite? What do you ask her to cook like for your birthday or something?

She cooks quite a lot of things. quite nice. If I had to choose, I would choose lamb karhahi.

DL: Sounds great. Now where were we? Oh, so we got to breakfast and then got distracted by food! So you get to work and do your team meetings. What’s the rest of your day like?

The morning tends to be just working on tickets. I take a break for lunch and I have my lunch outside with a friend or by myself depending on if I see someone on campus walking by. I have started to go to the library at noon, so that I could be a bit more focused, a bit more quiet and I could take the same physical breaks as well as being around people. Then I just crack on with my work until the end of the work day.

DL: And when is that?

I’m usually there until six or something because well, I start my day late so of course I’ll finish late. After work I would go for a small walk around the nearby lake. It takes like an hour to circle around the lake which is really amazing and always refreshing to do that. 

After coming back I usually cook, eat, take a small break and watch something.

DL: Okay, and then is that basically you done? Or then do you like working into the night? 

It depends on my mood. Sometimes I work a bit more. It could be literally anything. It could be editing a photograph that I took, like a year ago. It could be working on a project with a friend of mine. She’s a DJ and she’s doing this visual art when she plays music. So chatting with her and trying to help her out in the best way I can. 

DL: Thanks for sharing all that. I’ve got one final question. What would you say to somebody who’s thinking about working with Angry Creative or joining a team? 

So I’m from Pakistan and this is my first job here in Sweden so I can only compare how I work back home and how I’m working here. I think it’s quite normal here. But for me, it was, it was surprising that the first thing would be back home, you pull some extra hours, almost every day. Which doesn’t exist here. If you do that you are the one trying to build a bad culture into the community. You only have to do it only if it’s necessary, which is really nice. And of course, you get paid for it. So that was the first thing that was very surprising. The second thing was sometimes back home, I could feel that there’s a lot of leg pulling, which I did not see here at all. 

DL: How do you mean leg pulling?

I mean, taking credit for someone else’s work. Right? And then undermining other people’s confidence which I find very unnecessary. Even back home, I just used to stay quiet and be like, you guys enjoy but why are you doing this?

So that was very surprising. And it’s, it’s the opposite, actually, everyone’s just supporting everyone. And everyone’s just trying to motivate everyone to be better, to be better at what they do. So this culture at Angry was very surprising. For me, you know, it motivates you every single day to, to be good to one another, to be kind to one another, to learn more technical skills and to be a better programmer, and a better person in general. That’s really cool, man. Third thing that I would like to mention from my team. The culture in our stand up is pretty amazing. If you wake up and you don’t feel like working today, you go into the stand up meeting. Everyone’s cracking a small joke. You know, everyone seems there’s a smile on everyone’s face, even if they’re going through some stuff in their life. But just seeing that, you know, motivates you and you feel like you’re not alone in this, you know, you got this and let’s crush the day. We’re all just people trying to do a good job, right? 

DL: That’s really lovely to hear man. It sounds like you’re having a positive time here and my heart is warmed!

I definitely am. Yes, I’m happy that I’m here. I am happy that I joined.

If you’re the kind of person who wants to work with a WooCommerce-focused company that relies on good web developers, please do find out more and get in touch!