Becoming an iOS Developer Again. Meet Michał – a Programmer with over 10 Years of Experience
Michał worked with Swift since the 1.0 version. For a period of time, he was even a team manager. Some would say that's a usual career path. Yet for him, it was just a turn in a different direction. Eventually, he missed programming too much and came back to his developer roots. 😉 Dive into Michał’s story!
What did your road to iOS development look like? I heard you started from PHP.
Yes, the first language I used at work was PHP. Yet before that, I actually didn’t want to be a software developer. I was more interested in hardware than software. I dug electronics so I was thinking about working with Embedded systems. That is why I studied Electronics and Telecommunications at the Gdańsk University of Technology.
However, the job market didn’t fit into my plan. There were more offers for software developers than for electronics engineers. So during my studies, I started learning PHP and got my first freelancing job related to it.
Years later, while I was working at a company on a PHP project, they decided to start building iOS apps. I made a move to that new iOS team. I figured that building apps for phones would be in some way a comeback to hardware. That is how my iOS adventure began.
What was the iPhone you built your first apps for?
It was an iPhone 3GS with an iOS 5.0 system. It was around 10 years ago.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?
A couple of years ago I worked at the company developing a very popular mobile news application for the Swedish market. Then the decision was made to rewrite the app from hybrid to native.
The app was a successful commercial project with a significant number of users. The stakes were high. At that time releasing changes at that scale was much riskier than nowadays. Back then you had to publish the app on AppStore to 100% of users without phased release. Once we released it, there was no turning back. So the pressure was high.
Moreover, we wrote the new native version of the app with Swift. At that time Swift reached only the 1.0 version so I was really reluctant. However, we went for it. In the end, that was a very good decision. Yet, for sure, developing it with such a young technology was a painful process. For example, the compilation process was very slow, or sometimes it was impossible to debug something.
Swift was an early-stage tech and we totally based our success on it. However, it turned out to be a triumph. We received positive feedback from our users. And we have to remember that people are usually against UI changes, especially right after the release. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case for us.
You were a developer who hold a role of a manager for some time. How was it on both sides?
I was offered to take the position of Engineer Manager. It was a completely different role compared to a mobile developer. I am glad that I got to try to work closely with people. Thanks to that I also attended many valuable courses on leadership, psychology, and communication.
However, when the opportunity to become an iOS dev again came up I just couldn't say no. I knew a manager career wasn’t for me. I was too far away from the code. What's more, there’s just less pressure when you are a team member and you cooperate together compared to being a manager who is responsible for all these people’s well-being. In the end, you cannot make everyone happy.
Coming back to programming was too tempting. Code doesn’t have feelings. 😉 When you manage people you constantly have to take care of their feelings. Sometimes it’s too much to handle.
Not everyone would resign from the manager role. Wasn't it a step back in your career?
There is this misconception that becoming a manager is a promotion. For me, it was a career switch. Obviously, it depends on the organization. Every company defines these roles differently. If you, as a dev, become a tech lead who still works closely with technology, then it might be a promotion.
However, in my case, I mostly took care of hiring people and I was deciding about people's promotions and raises. And it is a different line of work, far from a tech. Naturally, there are organizations where there is a manager who holds responsibilities related to managing people and tech. However, in many cases, it is hard to perform all these duties by one person. It’s easier to focus either on people or on the quality of code.
You are a speaker at the iOSDevUK Conference in September. What will you talk about?
I will talk about becoming an iOS developer, again. Some of it we have just covered in previous questions. Let’s treat them as a preview. I will talk about all the misconceptions related to manager positions. I will compare the manager role to the developer role. Also, I want to show how great it was to go back to iOS development. After my break, I could see how many great new things Apple started to offer developers. It feels great to work again with Apple tools.
Michał will be a speaker at iOSDevUK Conference which takes place in Aberystwyth, Wales from 5th to 8th September 2022.
Why did you decide to join Bright Inventions?
I suppose I could quickly feel the nice atmosphere this company creates even at the early stage while talking to Bright recruiters. Also, I liked the fact that Bright Inventions has an office in Gdańsk where I live. Although I mostly work from home, it’s nice to have this place where you can go and take a break from your daily routine.
Is there something unique about working at Bright that you have observed?
I definitely noticed that Bright Inventions gathers people with a unique mindset. People here are very engaged in their job and projects. Every time I talk to someone I can see that they are deeply invested in what they do.
Your passion is rallying. How did that start?
Since I remember I was into automotive and mechanics. I guess my grandfather inspired me to follow this road. I made my first car repairs with him. Then I met people who attended rallying competitions and I quickly started to compete as well. I usually took part in local championships and even got Vice Champion of the Pomeranian Rally Championship.
Do you like to race at work as well? 😉
I guess it is nice to finish my tasks faster than I estimated. However, software development is more about collaboration than race. Working together is the best way to build a successful product in this business.