To the brave world belongs – the story of the youngest mid developer at Speednet
Note: this article was originally written in Polish by Inhire - you can find it here.
Tomek, I know that age shouldn't be emphasized, but you're 19 years old Frontend Developer at Speednet! Most people your age are just starting college, looking for an internship, or, in the case of programmers, just beginning their programming adventure. How did you end up at Speednet as a mid-developer? Tell us your secret.
It's safe to say that I ended up at Speednet pretty accidentally. I attended X High School and one of our teachers is married to one of Speednet’s employees They, in cooperation with the school, organized a workshop on IT project management. As I was interested in the topic, I decided to attend it. Among others, the CEO of the company Piotr Grodzki appeared at the seminar. As we all know, "to the brave the world belongs," so I went up and exchanged a few words with him; after all, it's not often that you can talk to someone who runs a company that employs more than 200 IT specialists and has been in the industry for so long. I asked if they organized internships since I wanted to start working and get my first commercial experience. Piotr gave me the number for Daniel in the HR department. I contacted him and later earned an invitation to a technical interview with Sebastian - Tech Lead. I came out pretty well on it. I got an invitation to come on board, so my adventure began.
When did you start programming? Where did your interest in the IT industry come from in the first place?
It all started with sixth-grade computer science lessons, where the teacher showed us the Logo language. I didn't learn much, but I caught everything almost immediately. I was the best in the group. I started enjoying it, so one day, I decided that it would be worth seriously trying programming. I didn't think about it for long; I just started looking for something I could draw knowledge from. And so I started learning C++ with Miroslaw Zelent, and it went on. Then I tried other things, played with servers, and databases, wrote games, mobile and web applications, and it's the latter I'm currently working on.
Did you use any courses when learning?
No, although many programming courses started appearing on the market at that time, they were aimed at beginners, and I was already at a higher level. At the Technical University, I also had extended computer science classes, which included Java Script basics. The only problem is that when you already know a little, such courses are.... quite dull - the level is adjusted to the group, but you can, for example, sit on the side and write yourself a server.
Is Speednet your first job? Will you tell us about your beginnings? Is there something you didn't expect?
Yes, Speednet is my first job. Initially, I needed to figure out what to expect because it was a new experience. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to cope, that the project might be too complex, and I wouldn't write anything meaningful, but fortunately, after about a month, I caught on to what and how and then the worries went away. Is there anything that surprised me? The strangest thing was that I was the youngest in the company. I had to get used to being surrounded by slightly older people and wondered if I would find a common language with them. It was only temporary, too; soon, conversations with my teammates became regular.
What project are you currently working on?
Since the beginning, I have been working on the Onet.pl mail project for Ringier Axel Springer. Currently, I'm mainly working on updating the primary calendar, to which we are adding new functionalities like: support for multiple calendars, information about holidays, weather, etc. What I like most about this project is writing different hacks that require thinking outside the box, making the application faster and smaller while not losing functionality. It's like solving puzzles, and the solutions are used by people all over the country. It gives me a lot of satisfaction, and I have a lot of fun doing it.
What would you advise non-IT people who would like to try their hand at programming?
To start, I always recommend to everyone the C++ course on the YouTube channel "Passion of Computer Science" (formerly Miroslaw Zelent); it explains very extensively and thoroughly all the basics, which will be helpful in any language. Then the best way to learn is to write various projects; suppose we want to write a calculator, but we need to figure out how to do it. This forces us to google and digs into the topic, and in this way, we slowly build up the necessary knowledge. From a calculator, it becomes a mini-game, then an actual application, until finally, we have enough knowledge about creating such things to try our hand at writing commercial applications. It is worthwhile doing all this to follow the latest trends and learn what is currently needed or what the demand for it is growing; in my case, it was React.