Another interview from the Frontend series is here! Read the story of Grzegorz Bąk.
Do you have any experience before NG? If so, tell us about what you did before Netguru?
Experience is a pretty broad term. My first “big” international coding project I worked in was around 2011-2013 – it was my dream to work on a 3D game project. Being able to contribute to both code and animation was a great challenge – I still remember all the problems with SVN we had back then. It took me about a year to find out what I wanted to pursue, but I set my eyes on getting a BS & MS in Computer Science. I found out about JS and the upcoming web 2.0, so I started building up from smaller freelance jobs, like a backend developer. Alternating freelance with employment allowed me to try out different new technologies and decide what to drop.
While studying full-time, I also worked a bit as a backend developer, building CRM plugins for a bookkeeping client. I realized building interfaces is more fun around that time, so I decided to focus solely on that – I finished volunteering at a FOSS organization, where I worked as a UI translator and turned to freelance. After a few standalone projects, I joined a software house, worked for a year until finishing my Bachelor’s, worked freelance for a year, and decided to join a creative agency. That was a significant change of pace for me, as I started learning how IT projects should not look – what not to do as a project manager/business owner. I decided to stay there for a year while working on a few side projects, like a web-based newspaper. I wouldn’t say it was a total disaster, as I learned some useful technologies when working on a crypto trading platform, but after that bit of time I quickly left for a corporate contract.
It brought another change of pace, this time for the better - for me, going corporate got well-organized projects and an experience that fits pretty well with my knowledge from my CS Master’s. Large teams, distinct design phases, and project requirement analysis – I was an early developer in many projects, which allowed me to contribute to the design phases and tech stack. With time the projects got bigger, predicting at one point an estimated cap of 50mil users. These were pretty exciting challenges – BL/CRM platforms, payment providers, rebrandings of international marketplace providers, or pharmaceutical logistics platforms. Having ended up many times as the mediator between UI, UX, and dev teams helped me narrow down my interest in front-end development. However, I’m still experimenting with new technologies like AR/VR and keep figuring out new ways of integrating them into the web.
What’s your favorite technology and why?
React is my go-to library, with which I can quickly deploy and prototype complex applications. For the last few years, I’ve also been running Preact, which has further reduced my workload.
What would you like to learn in the next 12 months?
I am interested in the application design phase, especially in software architecture planning. I have learned a lot during my studies, and I’d love to contribute with this knowledge (or keep it updated, the technologies change so fast).
What do you consider to be your most significant learning up to date (success or failure)?
I’ve seen projects fail at many different points, but a person was always the weakest link. I’m glad I know how far I can go before reaching my limit, so my or team’s well-being is what I watch closely.
How do you grow yourself outside Netguru, and what could you recommend to others (books, podcasts, courses, platforms, vlogs, etc.)?
Tech & Developer blogs (like CssTricks, Hackernoon, MSDN, React blog), Codepen, CSS battles, Hackernews, etc.