Software Engineering in the UK public sector

Niall McKenna
5 min readFeb 14, 2023

What I’ve learnt from my 2 years as a Front End Engineer in the public sector.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

I joined one of London’s councils almost 2 years ago as a Front End Engineer. For most of my career before this, I had worked for several large e-commerce businesses. I wanted to take an opportunity to discuss some of differences I’ve found in both industries and some of the things I’ve learnt over these past 2 years.

The one major difference from working in software engineering in the UK Public Sector compared to doing the same job in the e-commerce sector is the huge focus on designing and building products that are accessible for all. Accessibility matters. This was something I knew would be a significant difference before taking the job. Looking back on my time working in e-commerce, I can say that for the businesses I worked for, accessibility was never mentioned at all. One of the reasons I joined the council, was to learn more about how to make a website or application accessible as it was something I had began getting interested in. Prior to my time with the council, I was focused on simply writing semantic code that included all the basic features that help accessibility, those basics like title attributes on links and alt tags on images. Aside from running my websites through Google’s Lighthouse, I can’t say I ever spent a lot of time building…

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Niall McKenna

Front End Engineer in London. I love tech, design & writing - nmk.dev. I also journal my experience as a first time buyer in London medium.com/@niall_FTB