Frontend Developer with an Appetite for Backend. Meet Szymon
Szymon built his first website in middle school. He’s a frontend developer with over 5 years of commercial experience. He’s never been afraid to dig into the backend though. Discover Szymon’s love for React, holistic approach to software development, and dark beer.
What do you remember about your programming beginnings?
Since I remember, computers have always fascinated me. I wanted to create my own programs. When I was around 12 I made my first attempt to code (WinAPI C++). However, I quickly gave up because the amount of information to learn overcame me.
Back then the internet wasn’t such a knowledge source as nowadays so it was much more challenging to learn. I bounced from it like a table tennis ball. I started to code for real at age of 15, maybe 16. That is when I did my first so-called commercial projects such as company websites for my family members.
Your position is Senior Frontend Developer, but the fullstack path is no stranger to you. Do you feel like a fullstack?
The truth is I started my career as a fullstack. Then I had a turn to frontend because the project I worked on needed a focus on that. In my view, everyone should be interested in fullstack development with a less or bigger focus on the backend or frontend.
I wouldn’t call myself a fullstack though. I am more of a front-end developer with an interest in backend. Yet, I am not afraid of backend, but the frontend is definitely closer to my heart. All in all, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to one and panic when someone asks us to do something on the other side. If you work in a fullstack team and you want to understand what other team members do, a holistic approach is essential.
I read in your bio, on our website, that you are in love with React. Why?
I actually first worked with Angular quite some time. I started to learn React because at one of my previous jobs our client expected us to use it. So I started to discover React and realized that it simplifies many aspects of my work better than Angular.
React has a great advantage. You can use it in multiple ways and each of them will eventually lead to an application fulfilling all requirements. Angular makes you follow strict rules. However, the freedom offered by React can turn into a disadvantage.
If we assume that love brings pain sometimes, then we can call my relationship with React love. 😉 I’m not blindly in love, I see some issues. Nothing is perfect. Maybe we should call it a marriage of convenience? 🙂
The freedom that React offers could be heartbreaking for you in the future. You can really go crazy with React building very unusual things. And if you build a large application, the consequences could be painful. The business logic should be centralized so you could simply inspect it and adjust it if needed. If you use React too freely and scatter the business logic around, you may end up with an app, that's hard to maintain and scale. Don’t overuse the freedom that React gives you.
You joined Bright Inventions only a couple of months ago. What are your thoughts on our team?
After the first months, I can definitely say that there are a couple of factors that make our organization stand out from other IT companies. First of all, people here are so open.
Whenever I need something or have a question to ask I don’t hesitate to reach out to somebody. I know that this person will be helpful and kind. It doesn’t matter what position they hold at the company and what they do. It’s very encouraging, especially during onboarding, to experience this friendly atmosphere.
Also, the unique fact is that we at Bright Inventions are encouraged not only to grow internally but also to share knowledge with others, even outside our organization. For example here you feel motivated to write blog posts, apply to be a speaker at various conferences, etc.
Last but not least, is the fact that the company also inspires us to develop outside work and take care of our health. Bright organizes various sports classes in Gdańsk (where its HQ is). You can join swimming or yoga practices if you want. I wish I could attend them but I work remotely from Toruń.
Tell us more about the project you work on. Is there something particularly interesting about it?
I am a part of the team that develops a transportation system dedicated to freight forwarders. The most appealing thing about this project is a constant awareness that my every operation causes some consequences. The truth is that you can build an app really quickly but later cry over every new adjustment.
On the other hand, you can build a product smarter, with a long-term plan. And that’s how we operate here. We constantly have in mind that we build a solution that could be used for many years by a larger group of people. I like that approach.
What’s more, I enjoy the fact that we take part in product requirement talks. We discuss with the client what features they need and offer our expertise from a very early stage. Thanks to that we can quickly inform the client that some features could have a negative impact on other elements of the system. Eventually, we can offer an alternative solution that will still meet the client’s goals.
What advice would you give people who want to become front-end developers?
I’ve noticed that boot camps often claim to teach from zero to hero but don’t focus on the details of the language they use. They produce developers capable of working with a library or a framework. Yet eventually these programmers will have to work on low-level things and will realize they know nothing about it. Alternatively, they will stumble upon a problem caused by some language-specific feature and will have no idea how to fix it. You know, there are many programming languages out there, but nearly all of them share common traits, which you get to know during Computer Science studies. That’s why I think they are still beneficial despite (usually) being greatly outdated.
What do you enjoy doing after work?
I like to spend my spare time actively hiking and discovering new cities on foot. I am a fan of dark beer like Porter or Stout – the more black and thick the better. I even made my own beer recently and it tasted quite well. I also enjoy Asian cuisine. Last month I bought an electric guitar and, to be honest, it’s my third attempt to learn to play it.
In the past, I loved playing video games such as Battlefield and Call of Duty. Unfortunately, some time ago I realized they are not as entertaining as I remember them to be. Also, they don’t provide this special feeling of satisfaction anymore. Hard to say why, maybe it’s because the game wasn’t important, but the people I played with were. I guess it’s only a childhood memory now. 😉