"Hold the vision, Trust the process"
I decided to write this article because I wanted to tell a story. I wanted to be able to use my blog to share the voice of 10 developers from all over the world. All of this started as a simple idea, but as soon as I started reading people answers I found in each one of them a little gem.
These precious words are not only a little life report of 10 people, but also their opinions, ideas and struggles with a job each one of us reading this blog loves.
I just hope their words will be useful for you as they were for me when first reading them. Hope this article will inspire you to do better and to remind you that out there, other people are working hard in this sector simply because, like me and you, they love it.
I will add a reference to each one of their Twitter profiles at the bottom of the article so that you can get to know them even better.
Thank you to all the people who participated in this, you guys are amazing!
#1 Give us a little introduction of yourself (name, age and your current position)
Roy: My name is Roy Derks, I do a lot of things ranging from being a developer to being an entrepreneur. Most of my time is spent on working on open-source projects for the City of Amsterdam and managing my own startup, SwitchBay. Also, I speak on conferences and teach others how to use React and GraphQL. Find more informations here.
Aurelie: Hi! I’m Souvir, 25 and currently a full-stack developer at Iziwork, a French startup in Paris. My twitter handle is @souvir.
Dan: My Name is Dan Englishby and I’m from the sunny country of England. I’m 28 years of age and have been a full stack developer for the last 5 years.
Emma: Hi, I’m Emma - I’m a UX Engineer working at LogMeIn on GoToMeeting. I’m originally from Upstate New York, but a year ago I moved to Germany!
Aman: Hi, Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to share my story.
When I am using VSCode or a terminal window, I read books and write about them at my book blog. Some of you might know me from Twitter or Medium (@amanhimself handler at both), where I post a lot about my technical writing in form of tutorials.
Inne: Hello, my name is Inne. I am 34 years old, I live in Indonesia. I am the Vice President of Coding Mum Community Indonesia (@codingmum_id) and also one of the mentors in the community.
Sean: My name is Sean Aguiñaga. I’m 25 right now. Currently, I’m working as a CTO/Tech
Advisor at a startup that’ll be (hopefully) be getting serious funding in a couple of months.
Mike: Hi! My name is Michal Skowronek and some people call me Mike, I'm 32 (1987) and I'm a senior frontend developer. In my previous job I was also frontend team lead.
Fortune: My name is Kelechi Fortune Ikechi, am a 19-year-old Nigerian, and I am a full stack web developer, although an expert in front end development.
#2 How did you start coding and how did you get your first job?
Roy: I started programming about 12 years ago when I wanted to start my own business. Back then Video on Demand didn't exist and I had this idea for a peer-to-peer platform where you could trade DVDs with other people. As I needed a website for this, I taught myself how to program and just started building it. With this experience, I started to help other people build their startup dreams as a freelancer.
My first experiences were both school internships (several months in startups and Web agencies) and freelance missions while studying to pay my tuition fees. But my first permanent contract was with "La Société Générale", a French multinational investment bank company headquartered in Paris where I worked as a full stack developer.
Dan: Believe it or not, I started out as an administrative clerk for a company in the manufacturing industry. It was only when there was an opportunity of getting involved in something that I found the love of code. After getting involved in a major data-analysis system, I was given a job of Full Stack Developer for the company!
During that internship, my dad’s previous manager stopped by to say hello and see if I’d be interested in moving to Texas. Once I graduated, I moved down south to start my first position.
Aman: Even though I am a Computer Science graduate (almost 4 years), I didn’t consider programming as something to make living out of it, until I graduated. I took some time off after my graduation to get as many hands-on experiences with programming.
Thus, my first job was the role of a Node developer. Things that often spark a fire inside me is to have freedom create or build something of my own (even though ideas/projects do suck most of the time or goes unattended after a while pun intended). Programming is one of those few things that let me achieve that level of freedom in this on-going internet age.
Mohammad: I was initially into gaming but quickly grew out of it around the age of 11/12. From doing the basic HTML/CSS/ASP.NET/VB.NET in college and Uni I decided I wanted to build websites. I ended up getting my first job as a developer via Twitter.
After leaving university it was tough to find a job anywhere, I applied literally everywhere offering to work for free to gain the experience of working for a company, no-one would give me the time or day till RedStar Creative gave me the opportunity, after a quick interview I never looked back, after a couple of months I was earning a salary, albeit a basic one and then over the years I’ve just grown.
Inne: I started programming in 2006 at college, it was really confusing at the first time. After I graduated, I decided not to involve myself with programming again until I join the Coding Mum Community in 2017 and started to focus on web development.
I got my first job when the committee saw me teaching the other moms. Started from there, they gave me the mentor seat and awarded me as a The Best Alumnae in Education Sector, more information at the Indonesian page here.
Sean: I got my first computer at four years old. It ran MS-DOS at first, which isn’t the easiest thing to use for an adult, let alone a kid. My dad upgraded it to Windows 95 so that made it a lot easier to actually use. Who doesn’t like a GUI? Being comfortable with command prompt stuff, driver issues, etc. made it easier to get into actual coding later on.
I started coding on Ubuntu. Getting all the hardware drivers installed was fun on my HP laptop. Honestly, I installed Ruby first because the icon was pretty. I really had no idea what it was.
After fiddling around with that I Installed Python. Not much came of installing this stuff. I’ve always been a visual, “design-y” person and at the time I wasn’t aware of how to make a pretty UI from scratch using them so my interest waned. I’d rather browse the web, read Wikipedia articles or play computer games.
I did make a Yahoo! GeoCities site that I liked when I was around 10. Jumping to after I
graduated high school, I had a tech-nerd reputation and got asked to do IT/Web stuff for a small business so I did that while doing more school. HTML/CSS was, in my opinion, wonky at that time so I used Flash to make the site.
It let you make some great stuff at the time so I’m not too ashamed about that decision. I set up the company’s server: email, web hosting, file
stuff - all in the Microsoft stack of products.
Mike: I started quite early. I think I was 10. I read some computer magazine and was impressed by the really complicated demoscene effect ' fractal visualization. It was implemented in c++. This was, in fact, my very first language.
I didn't really understand pointers at that time but this didn't stop me. I also wanted to create games and visual programming was something which drove me through hard parts of learning a programming language.
During my studies, I also learned how a computer works. I was a part of 2 big projects at the university. First was 3d engine created in c# and directx. Second was 3d network renderer for play station 3 farm we had on the university.
Then I focused more on creating desktop applications (C# and Delphi).
Before I finished studies, me and my friend came up with some cool idea. We wanted to create portfolio service dedicated mostly for programmers. We thought there are places for graphic designers and painters but programmers seemed to show mostly "boring" code.
It was webchat for our contact centre server application. I loved how in around 500 lines of code I was able to create server and client. It took me 1 week and everyone was impressed with how Node.js solved a lot of issues we had withTCP and http.
Uhm I think this was the beginning of my dev story and presumably it would be a little boring to describe it more.
I've always been fascinated by computers and how they work, being in a country and region where software development is a work for the elite, I wanted to be my own person, understand how computers, apps and robots work so I set out on a personal expedition, reading all I can about software development.
At 17, I knew a lot about software development theoretically, but I wanted more, my parents are poor and so we can't avoid a computer but my secondary school had a single desktop computer, I was desperate so I opted to be the school computer prefect which would allow me time to practice what I've read.
My first job was a personal project to build my own blog, the blog was a success but then because of financial problems, I sold it out.
If you were to start learning to program again, what would you learn in 2019 and how would you do that?
Dan: I would one, start a Twitter account, two, purchase some online courses from Udemy and websites like that. Also, I would follow some of the many extremely informative blogs that are around today.
Mohammad: I would have learnt MVC/PHP/JS/jQuery more, during the time at Uni the course did not give us the opportunity to learn new programming languages, I would have never gone to Uni and instead self-learned during those 3 years. I learnt more in my first 6 months as a web developer.
Sean: I think to be great at designing and creating things you really need to be able to draw from multiple disciplines and perspectives. Context is really key for me and I wish I knew more about the specific history of coding itself and not just the technical arc of history from the end user's perspective.
Knowing where things like object-oriented programming come from and why someone thought it was a good idea in the first place and what problems it solved from earlier paradigms and the new ones it made, and so one. As a beginner, there is so much to learn. I wish there was a guiding voice of reason on hand 24/7 that you could ask things whenever you get stuck that just answer the specific question you asked, “how to solve x?”, but also places it within an existing body of knowledge in the world in which you want to work.
I think people have more potential than employers realize and they set the bar-to-entry too high. Knowledge and its acquisition is a repeatable pattern and behaviour and if someone shows genuine talent they’ll end up being very productive in the end provided good enough guidance.
I’d hound a software developer for a phone call, have a notepad next to me with higher-than-normal perspective questions and just dig deep into their everyday problems and solutions- try and get a feeling for the rationale behind them and go off, make something, often badly and just keep rinsing and repeating until I have something to show for it that someone else would think is great.
Mike: Web dev for sure. By that I mean js, HTML and CSS plus some popular framework. I really love React and its concept so it is most likely it would be my choice. Regarding the learning process, there are a ton of resources for any part of computer science and software development. Personally, I love learning by creating so I would start doing something which needs to meet 2 requirements:
- I want to do it (the process itself should make me feel good)
- I want to have it done (to show off to someone or to make money)
Other than that I live egghead courses. These are so condensed and valuable. I couldn't recommend them more :)
Are you working on any personal project(blog, forum, community), and if so, tell us about the one you are the proudest of?
Roy: My most memorable moment last year was my first tech talk abroad, at React Native EU 2018, where I talked about GraphQL. Since that conference, I got asked to present on more conferences and meetups across Europe.
Aurelie: Good question, I'm always working on some side projects but I rarely finish one! I'm currently preparing online classes. This takes much more time than I thought but I'm sure I will be proud once it will be finished and released online! I am also going to be part of a professional examination board for a Web school in March and had several opportunities to attend public conferences as a speaker, which is a great step for me.
Last but not least, I’m very proud of my Twitter community which is active and benevolent!
Dan: I am indeed, I am the founder of , a programming and web-development platform for like-minded developers. I have now built this blog up to a great degree of popularity, something I never thought was possible when I started out!
Emma: I’m currently building an open-source project called Coding Coach. While we’re still in the building phases, we’re hoping to release as soon as possible. Our mission is to provide a platform which connects free mentees & mentors around the globe.
Aman: My priority personal project is to write and share as much content on Web Development and React Native for fellow developers. Along with that, I am trying to build a community around it by running a weekly newsletter in the same domains mentioned.
You can find my blog posts on
You are most welcomed to subscribe to my newsletter at https://upscri.be/e51a31/
Mohammad: I’m working on a Laravel CMS for my own personal website, now it’s more built for blogs. It’s not finished now but hoping to crack on and get that completed ASAP. I’m prouder of that as I know it’ll turn out brilliant for me. I can’t state any other projects I am proud of due to NDA.
Sean: I’m working on my own portfolio site, sean.tech. Trying to do a PWA thing but honestly who is going to add my site to their home screen? Probably no one. I think web apps are amazing. The DOM is limiting, etc., etc. but it’s what we have to work with now and I think it’s a really promising space. Of course, I’m gonna start posting articles with thecoderswag.com/SeanAguinaga. Which is exciting and I’m looking forward to it.
Mike: Hmm, I think I am working on something now. I hope it would help people create nice looking and working web applications. More precisely I want to show how to implement common UI interactions we see doing our job but not necessarily easy to find in any tutorial. I started recently and it looks it's gonna be long living project :)
Fortune: Currently am working on my own website, KayInc.com, but I'm now as passionate as I should be on it, just got admitted to study medicine so I have to work a little harder for my fees. But then am proud of KayInc, it will be the first website that I would be building all alone from scratch, not with a team or anything, all by myself.
What is for you the best part of this job? and the worst?
Roy: The best part is working together with other like-minded people and build products that are used by the masses. The worst part is having to deal with legacy code
Aurelie: The best part is the“AHA!” moment when I find the solution. I'm an addict of that feeling when you're stuck and find a way to make your code working. Same every time a test turn green!
The worst part is when I have to do repetitive actions. Or when I can’t get someone‘s trust on a mission.
Dan: The best part of my job as a full-stack dev is being able to take peoples ideas and turn it into a working product. Consequently bringing true happiness to the end user, making their jobs easier and bringing added benefits to the company.
What is the worst? Hmmm, probably those days when you're stuck on a really complicated problem for hours! Even worse, the ones that you can’t figure out before you go to bed, and ping, it’s on your mind all night! Oh, maybe that’s just me.
Emma: It’s hard to manage my time. I’m wearing the hat of a project manager, but also lead designer. Giving up control of the development was hard for me, but was the only way for this project to succeed.
Aman: I am currently working as a remote developer, so the best part of my current situation is the amount of time I have available since I do not have to commute. Laughs out loudly
Jokes apart, the best part of being a developer is that it is more than a job and for that reason, the choice you get to be a part of the wonderful community across the globe. Not only you can meet and communicate with vast personalities, you get to learn new things from them every day or week about the job you do. You share your own experiences and people share theirs. You do get a choice to build friendships for life even being born in different geographical locations. To summarise, you grow as a person too.
Mohammad: The best part of the job is that you can use the most up to date frameworks, programming languages out there to take your skills & development to the next level, you also have great communities out there that are willing to help, the likes of FreeCodeCamp, Code Academy, the Laravel Community etc. Communicating with other developers is also useful as you can get an insight into how others work.
The worst part for me is when inheriting work from another developer and it’s been done to a very bad standard, I think of building websites as building a house, the foundations need to be strong, it needs to be done in such a way that another developer can pick it up and understand what’s going on. Doing a bad job does not look great for you or the company/business/individual you are doing it for.
Inne: The best part in teaching other moms is that we gave the moms an exciting experience outside their daily job (house chores, taking care of the kids etc), we also helped them to understand about how things work in the internet. The worst part is, many women are still have less chance to spend time with us to learn together in a classroom. Some of them are not allowed to learn by their husbands/ men.
Sean: People are people. We like doing new, fun, and exciting things and a lot of work is
anything but those things. Changing your perspective on whenever you feel bored or
frustrated; knowing that this leads to what you want or is a part of the greater whole can help you break free from that view where things are “best/worst”.
Mike: I mostly love the creative process and working with an environment where aesthetics is a big deal. The hardest part (I wouldn't call it worst) is to be able do deliver a unified experience for a countless number of different devices. Sometimes I just want to give up but I think web is getting better every year.
Fortune: The best part of being a software developer is the joy that comes when your code works, trust me it's heaven! I mean after a session of searching for bugs and your code works as expected, it's pure bliss, and when people also appreciate what you do, its something special to a developer.
The worst part of this job is not getting enough for what you do, personally, I've worked with a few teams, and it's sad when they give you peanuts for work you've done well.
Give to your younger self and advice that you find extremely useful, and leave us with a prediction for the future of coding in 2019!
Roy: The best advice I could have given to myself was to start sharing knowledge with other developers sooner. By learning together with others you can achieve much more, and situations, where you would get stuck, can be avoided easier. In the near future, I see frontend developer getting much more important, as applications get more and more complicated.
Aurelie: To my younger self, I would say: "Believe in you and be patient, you will learn and one day you will teach and help others. You are capable: keep trying, keep coding!" I don't know how the future will be, but I'm sure of one thing: as we learn how to automate boring stuff, new questions will be raised. We will be facing more and more challenging problems and I’m am very excited to bring solutions!
Dan: My advice to a younger self would be to always jump in at the deep end, no matter how scared you are. Don’t be afraid of learning something new also. My prediction for 2019 is that this new Development environment (Kite) coding-helper is going to be a major game-changer for developers.
Emma: Make the most out of your time. Don’t multitask. Prioritize and focus on one task at a time. To-do lists are a great way to remember everything.
Aman: If I had a chance to get access to time machine even for few minutes and go back in time and leave an advice for my younger self, I would say, start as early as possible, as fast you can and build things. You get to validate your ideas only if you have something available to show to the world. Your ideas are going to suck, you will sweat over silly errors of your own, but that’s okay. Keep iterating. Iteration is an important aspect in any programming language (to look it that way).
I cannot predict the future solely on my observations and experience. If React Native interests you in any way, do look out for it. The way it is being currently revamped, I think building a mobile app is going to be more accessible and with less hassle using it. Also, there is a thing called serverless. If you are into web programming or a web developer, you have probably heard about it. If not, do not let that word go unseen.
Mohammad: Good question, I’m not sure what the future holds for coding, but all I know is whatever happens the only way is up and the possibilities are endless.
Inne: If you see failure, take a step backwards, embrace yourself and run through it.
Sean: Don’t get discouraged. The world was invented by people just like you. It seems
impenetrably complex at times, but it’s really not. Stay positive and really notice what you have around you already and what you can do with it. I think front-end development is starting to stabilize.
It’s a huge stack on its own which makes learning difficult but it should become a set of almost standards soon. Not decided on by a committee but determined by popularity, which I don’t think will swing wildly as it has in the past. Learn React, TypeScript, and Rust.
Mike: Finish this fu**ing thing before you move on to another project, the smallest crappy and finished thing is better than the best but never finished idea.
My prediction for 2019. More web developers will be using CSS grid (I hope, if you start you cannot get back).
Fortune: To my younger self, " Tech is art, so make it beautiful, use all resources you have to learn, network and build to make lives better for humanity".
In 2019, there will be a lot of breakthroughs in software development, more young people will join the software dev. industry and there will be a lot of migration of African software developers to Europe, especially Germany.
Useful references for the article
- Roy Derks: @gethackteam
- Aurelie Ambal: @Souvir
- Dan Englishby: @DanEnglishby, personal blog: CodeWall
- Emma: @EmmaWedekind, CodingCoach
- Aman:@amanhimself, Medium, Newsletter
- Mohammad: @RHJOfficial
- Inne: @inne_ria, CodingMum Community, Alumni Award, Medium
- Sean: @SeanAguinaga
- Mike Skowronek: @coderitual
- Fortune Kelechi Ikechi: @fortune_ikechi, Personal Project