Meet Kuba Siwek, our Front-end Developer! He started working at our company almost 4 years ago. Now the front-end team counts over 12 developers. How it was changing and what is he doing now? All the answers and more in the interview of My Applover Path!
Thank you for finding time for this little interview, we know you are quite busy! Let’s start with an easy question – How did you get a job at Applover?
When I finished my degree at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Wrocław University of Technology, I went for an internship at one of the automotive companies. To put it mildly, I didn’t like the style of working there, their daily quota, etc. I felt like it was the last moment to change something and avoid spending the next 40 years like that.
I was lucky to know at that time CTO of Applover, Piotr Sobusiak. He suggested that I should come to the company for an internship, and see if programming could be more interesting for me. And that’s what I did. If I remember correctly, during the interview Piotrek told me something about his vacations. 😀 So here I am.
Do you remember your first project as a Front-end Developer?
Yes, and I think I will never forget it. It was a simple website for a photographer, however, as the first encounter with the client, deadlines and new tools cost me a lot of stress. I was lucky that it was also the first project of my Project Manager – Michal, so we were a little bit more comfortable. In the end, I managed to deliver the project but I don’t think I would like to see my code from that time.
What project was the most challenging so far at Applover for you and why?
I can mention two such projects. One of them was the Polish banking institution. It was a challenge because we had to fit into a strict budget and at the same time we were aware that the client was so sexy that the product had to be the best. As this client approached us two more times after its completion, I consider that everything went well.
On the other hand, there was a platform for Eko-logis – a waste disposal company in Wroclaw. That was a project with a large network of internal dependencies so writing it often resembled arranging a Rubik’s cube with sudoku on each of the walls. But at the same time, the client had the right attitude, so we didn’t have to strictly stick to the adopted specification but we could also propose new elements on our own. We believed it could extend the versatility of the tool.
What does your typical workday look like?
I start my day by checking the messages on Slack and my meeting schedule in the calendar. If there’s a code review waiting for me, I start my day with it (among other things because I can do it holding a cup of coffee in one hand). Next, I have a project daily and then I start writing code non-stop (not really non-stop because I like to take a break at the office for ping-pong or a game of hacky sack). Yet, in practice, there’s usually a meeting with the client, recruitment interview, helping someone, or discussing some issue with a QA Tester. I feel strange describing a “typical day” because my days at work are often unusual. 😉
Now your main technology is Vue.js – how did you start with it and what was your technical development path?
When I was still learning to program, I went to a school course where I learned ReactJS. It seemed great at the time but coming to Applover I had to switch to Vue. But I liked this framework from the beginning. I found it more transparent and accessible than React, although I still learn its nuances. In the meantime, I had the opportunity to develop WordPress pages using PHP. I think that to a large extent it developed my skills in CSS and HTML semantics but honestly I feel much better programming an application based on Vue.
What are the technologies that you’d like to learn but you lacked the opportunity of so far?
What new front-end things have you learned at Applover?
Actually, all my knowledge today comes from my time here. As I said, when I came to the company, I only knew a little bit about React. With every project and every person I worked with, I learned something new – whether it was technical stuff, project management, or communicating problems within the team.
What tools do you use in your projects? Do you have any that you prefer better?
As all my projects are written in Vue, I used Vuex in each of them. I mentioned earlier that I would like to try out Pinia soon but I can’t imagine giving up the data store completely. Some time ago you could find articles on giving up centralized applications state. I even let myself fall for it but the provide/inject system in Vue 2 was so inaccessible that I always had to apologize to Vuex so I could dig out from the sea of props in components.
Despite the data store, I always use some UI framework. There’s no denying that I’m not a fan of CSS. In my first project on Vue, I had to create a game, something like Russian roulette and there was a lot of fun with CSS. In the end, it worked and I was quite happy with the result. Until a QA Tester started checking it on Safari. Adapting to this browser cost me so much time and nerves that nowadays I start the project by selecting a UI library (actually, we do it together with the designers at the design stage) to make sure that the effect on all browsers will be satisfactory. Most often we use Vuetify because it’s based on Material Design, which is familiar to clients and they like to see it in their projects.
What do you value at your work the most?
I appreciate the fact that creating applications is truly interesting. I really like logical puzzles and coming to work I feel like playing chess, or a mastermind. It’s impossible to get bored in this work as each application is different and it seems to me that each one is also better. It uses the experience gained while working on previous ones. Moreover, it gives me a lot of satisfaction when the software that I co-created is used and makes someone’s work easier or allows them to earn money.
You have been working in one company for almost 4 years. What from your perspective, did change the most at Applover during this time?
Applover has changed beyond recognition during that time. When I started here the company had about 20 employees. Now it’s hard to keep up with the current number, I think it’s about 100. The structure of the company has changed a lot during this time, new departments appeared, which at that time didn’t exist at all. We’ve seen a lot of growth in non-technical departments and even though they don’t participate in the software development process, they contribute to the growth of Applover as a brand. Thanks to this, we – the developers – have the opportunity to work on more interesting projects for bigger clients.
What did motivate you to become a Front-end Developer?
Honestly, it wasn’t some super thought out decision. I might as well have flipped a coin. I remember that when I signed up for the mentioned course, there were two groups available: one in React, the other in C#. I was thinking so long that it ran out of places in C# :D. Looking back, I am satisfied
(backend developers are terrible nerds). I like to see the effect of work in real-time and I don’t like to play with the server configuration. Everything fits. 😉
Any plans or challenges that you await in the nearest future?
I would like to get out of my comfort zone of programming in Vue and start using React commercially. I would also like to use the tools I wrote about earlier, but mostly I plan to give myself, my company, and my clients peace of mind by developing good code. 😉
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to become a Front-end Developer? Maybe you can share your favorite knowledge sources?
I believe that all courses have no value if in the end the code isn’t written by yourself. If you want to do a course on Udemy that takes an hour, it’s better to give yourself two hours and stop at places you don’t understand than watching it without understanding. In the long run, it will be an hour saved rather than lost.
A cool platform is Codeacademy which publishes interactive courses requiring us to write code. When it comes to learning Vue, I highly recommend Vue Mastery, where you can find virtually every topic related to this framework.
Become the Front-end Developer
If you’re looking for a place where you’d like to grow as a Frontend Developer, keep checking Applover’s Careers Page! We start new recruitments regularly due to the company’s growth. We might need someone like you right now.