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Mikhail Karan
Mikhail Karan

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How Working In A Restaurant Helped Me As A Web Developer

What is HTML All The Things?

HTML All The Things is a web development podcast and discord community which was started by Matt and Mike, developers based in Ontario, Canada.

The podcast speaks to web development topics as well as running a small business, self-employment and time management. You can join them for both their successes and their struggles as they try to manage expanding their Web Development business without stretching themselves too thin.

What's This One About?

This week Mike and Matt discussed the skills they picked up from previous non-developer jobs and how they helped them in web development. Even when working in a kitchen, a factory, or an unrelated tech job - there are some skills that you can't learn anywhere else and yet still transfer over to web development.

Show Notes

Matt’s Skills

  • Boredom Management/Staring at the Clock
    • From my old job at a factory, a common pastime was boringly staring at, or frequently checking, the clock - waiting to go home
    • This would of course draw the day out, giving me the perception that the shift would never end
    • While working in tech, there was less time to stare at the clock, but sometimes I’d reach the end of my tasks for the day and would find myself checking over and over with the same time drawing affect
    • For a brief period I worked in both tech and at the factory part-time and in that time I decided to try and manage my time a little better to prevent drawing out the day and this is what I learned from my factory position:
      • I worked for 8 hours a day plus overtime
      • In that time I’d have a 10 minute break 2 hours in
      • 4 hours in a 20 minute lunch
      • 6 hours in a 10 minute lunch
  • Slow is smooth and smooth is fast
    • This is a statement I’ve heard from the movies and time managers a number of times, but it’s more than just a motivational quote.
    • We’ve all been introduced to the idea of taking a large problem, breaking it up into smaller tasks to make the situation more manageable, then working on the smaller parts to culminate to the solution

Mike’s Skills


A line in a kitchen only works when everyone works together.

The chain of responsibility and timing are essential.

Working with a team of developers you need to be able to rely on them and communicate issues effectively to avoid blocking each other.

Being a leader

I spent the last few years running the pass/calling the chits in the kitchen.

This meant I was responsible for ensuring everyone started and finished cooking food at the right time to go out to one table.

Communicating with and helping my team succeed were my primary focus.

I take that mindset when leading a team of developers. I try to make sure everyone has everything they need to do their job effectively.


When working with a constant stream of orders and some complex menu items, you have to really pay attention and focus in the kitchen.

You need to make sure the chicken isn't raw and that the food tastes good.

You need to be able to focus for long periods of time while cooking.

This helps a ton while coding as well. Solving hard issues, troubleshooting, and writing features require a ton of time and focus.

Calm under pressure

During a dinner rush, you might get overloaded with orders. Things can also go wrong and other cooks might need your help all at the same time.

Staying calm and prioritizing one thing at a time was a BIG part of my job as a cook.

As a developer staying calm has been a big part of my career.

Times when production goes down, or deployments fail, need a cool head to come up with a hotfix.

Taking criticism

On the line, every mistake you made is amplified because it most likely immediately affects someone else. Either the customer if it's bad food, or the other cooks if you forgot something that messes up their timing.

You will receive feedback and criticism several times in a single shift.

The mindset to receive and act on feedback can help accelerate your developer career. I try to go out of my way to get other developers to take apart my code so I can learn.

Thank you!

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