Why did you choose to become a developer? When did it start and what was the motivation?
I didn't really choose it. Sorry for the cliché, but I think it was a bit like with wizards and wands — a wizard doesn't choose its wand, the wand chooses the wizard 🧙♂️.
The passion started when I was 10, and there wasn't even a computer in my home at the time. I read a short book "Delphi Programming" from cover to cover. Without a text editor, or even a computer, without the ability to write or test anything — I read every line of every code example in that book trying to memorize and learn as much as possible. This is how it all started.
After I got my first computer I played with Delphi, C++, Visual Basic, Pascal, and probably a few other languages. And then I started building my first website — about cheat codes for The Sims and GTA 😄. I instantly fell in love with web development! My motivation was just pure curiosity and then passion and love for building things.
The wand chooses the wizard 😂. Love it. And was there any particular project that gave you the most experience and/or satisfaction? Something that you are still proud of today?
I worked on various projects with different companies. I worked for a startup recently bought by a corporation, a failing startup, a successful startup, a large and well-funded company, but not yet a corporation… I also freelanced, and I tried to build my own startups with friends.
Can't say which of them gave me the most experience or satisfaction. I definitely learned new and exciting things with each of them! Aside from coding, I think much more important were the soft skills I gained. For example, how to communicate with a micro-managing boss, or how to effectively help people too shy to ask for help. Invaluable in my everyday work!
Most of the things I built 10 or 5 years ago — I would do them completely differently today, technology-wise. However, there are some things I built and I'm still satisfied with, like the very early version of that startup which is now funded and successful. It makes me proud to think of that 🙂.
Those soft skills are vital! And how do you stay productive working remotely? Do you have a specific routine that you stick to?
I participated in the #productivity-quest at X-Team where I learned various ways to increase my efficiency and to stay focused. I try to stick to using Pomodoro whenever I have a large piece of well-structured work to do.
Whenever I feel unproductive, tired or can't focus — I just give up. Take a break. Go for a walk. Play games. Just do something else instead of programming. That always works for me and I always come back with a fresh dose of energy to tackle my problems!
Have you been to any developer conferences? Is there one you would recommend?
I've been to a few in 2018: React Amsterdam 🌲, Monadic Party, Reactive Conf. I highly recommend Reactive Conf to anyone who is into JS, reactive and functional programming.
I also co-organised the meet.js Summit 2018 in October — X-Team was the main sponsor. It's the largest JS conference in Poland. It was a huge success and we donated $12,000 to charity thanks to our sponsors and attendees!
That's a huge chunk of money, well done! In terms of personal growth, what would you say was your biggest accomplishment in 2018? And do you have any particular goals for 2019?
I think it was joining the XHQ team as a part-time engineer at first, eager to help and push the project forward. That gave me the opportunity to become the dev lead for XHQ — which is definitely an accomplishment! It's less about the development per se, more about helping others, answering their questions, making sure they're on the right path. That's something new for me.
For the readers, XHQ is X-Team's central place where X-Teamers can see all the bounties, all the swag you can order with the coins you get from completing the bounties, where you submit invoices, etc...
And what's your favorite personal project right now?
I have a blog and a Discord server related to web development. It's in Polish: https://typeofweb.com.
I created the largest community-based database of webdev interview questions. Also in Polish: https://app.fefaq.pl/.
I also run a few Facebook groups about React, Angular, Vue, ReasonML… in Polish 😄. I like helping people and I want to build strong local communities where everyone feels safe.
It's a bit early to reveal, but I started working on an Open Source project typesafe-hapi. It aims to make HapiJS routes, validation schemas, and handlers consistent and type safe in TypeScript! I'm so excited to work on this because I know there will be a lot of people keen on using that: https://github.com/mmiszy/typesafe-hapi.
The largest community-based database, that's a great accomplishment! Lots of awesome, community-driven projects. How has the Unleash+ budget and the X-Team season helped you with those projects?
I used my Unleash+ budget to cover all the expenses related to conferences I attended, including flights and apartments. I already bought a few tickets for 2019 too!
When it comes to this X-Team Season, I feel it's all about setting new personal goals and I'm trying to do it, whether it's about 10000 steps a day, hitting the gym more often, staying more focused or… just having fun and relaxing.
That's what it's designed for. And have you been to an X-Outpost?
I've attended three: Scotland, South Africa and Thailand (I'm on Koh Samui at the moment)! Each of them was completely different, but it's so much fun every time. Meeting fellow X-Teamers, learning about different places and cultures, taking part in all those adventurous activities… and then having a karaoke party with old Polish songs. Living the dream 😉.
You bet. Finally, what lasting impression do you want to leave on the world?
One of the most important things I learned in my life is that you can leave. Whenever you feel unsafe, insecure or uncomfortable — you can leave. You have many options and one of them is to leave. For some people, in certain situations, it's impossible. But more often than not, we don’t leave simply because we think we’re not allowed. Whenever I tell that to people they say "I wish I knew this when I was younger". Leaving is a valid option!
Some wise advice right there. Thank you so much Michał. Best of luck with your projects!