Kasper Wargula
Senior Front-end Developer

In this interview, we sit down with one of X-Team's front-end developers, Kasper Wargula.

Kasper is a classic example of what happens when you give a compassionate, incredibly talented person the freedom to live and work from anywhere -- they are able to focus on constant growth for themselves and on crafting a better world for their children.

What motivated you to first get into programming?

Definitely uncle Jacek, my mother's brother. He studied mathematics with elements of computer science when it came for the first time to the Polish universities. He wrote for me a program in Delphi for learning the multiplication table when I was in primary school. He showed me the Internet for the first time (that noise of dial-up connecting, omg). Computers, first books about the programming, interactive English course for children, magazines about computers, electronic gifts on Christmas - all of that was uncle Jacek.

The second factor was bit more pragmatic - my parents are teachers, therefore writing machines were good enough for them and (unfortunately) those machines were *too slow for gaming*. Our first computer in 1997 (me - 6 yo) was 100MHz Pentium, 16MB RAM, 200MB HDD, Windows 3.1 and monochromatic display. Several years later, at the end of the primary school I started to learn HTML and took 1st place in school contest for the best website. I was so proud of myself back then - I put a lot of time to build a simple 'wortal' with knowledge and free assets for other 'webmasters'.

In high school I bought used computer from my friend for ~$30 for programming purposes only (Windows 2000 in 2007 :D). My parents didn't know about it so I had to transport that computer together with the large display 6km back to home on my bicycle using an adhesive tape.

I started to learn C++ using an amazing free book 'From zero to game coder' (it rhymes in Polish btw) written by a student, then I moved back to the webdev and got my first commercial project in PHP - website for metal shop with MySQL database and admin panel. First money earned from programming in high school. It felt good. I miss those times!

At some point in the secondary school I also met a guy ~3 years older than me (his name was Marcin) who was writing his own operating system in Assembly language. He told me about the code, describing each line, showing how to display a colourful pixel on the screen etc. I didn't understand much but I really wanted to be like him in the future.

Uncle Jacek sounds like a great guy. Who/what drives you forward today?

First of all I really love programming, it's the playground for the infinite creativity. There is always something interesting new to learn, and thanks to open source it's ridiculously cheap. It's possible to easily mix technology with any other field - music, visual arts, sports, anything. All you have to do is spend lots of time on practising, building, changing and playing with the code. It's impossible to be a good programmer without the passion. That's the only requirement, all the rest comes as a consequence.

I'm unbelievably lucky to be able to support my family and pay checks thanks to coding.

So to answer your question - what drives me forward today is the excitement of playing with technology, a desire to develop myself and providing a good life for my family.

How do you hope to keep developing yourself this year?

My theme this year is open source contributing. I plan to release two stable libraries - one for composing declarative forms with validation in React and second for capturing screenshots and screencasts in the browser to mp4 file. Both are halfway through. I'm also thinking about contributing to documentation in projects I use everyday such as React and Redux - I often see on my Twitter feed that their docs need much love from the community.

That's awesome. So aside from coding, what keeps you inspired?

I like to close my computer when I finish my work. There are many things I like to do besides computers.

I love books, especially documentaries and thrillers. The former allow me to look outside my huge privileges bubble and see amazing stories of other people. Some are beautiful, but most of them are scary and sad. They help me remember that this world is far from being perfect and there is still much work to do for humanity. They also keep my head open, because reality is way more surprising and creative than any fiction.

On the other hand I also like to relax and read some fiction from time to time. My favourite book character is definitely Lisbeth Salander from the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larson. If you liked 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' (movie based on the first part) - the books are 100 times better.

I also love watching TV shows with my wife. Our favourite is Bron/Broen - a Swedish thriller about pair of police officers looking for serial killer. Story, characters, number of layers, plot twists - you can forget about Game of Thrones (which I also love).

I also like to keep my body healthy - working so long in front of the computer requires extra effort. I do workouts with a group of people called the 'Dirty Sparrows', ride a bike with my family and also run from time-to-time. Physical effort makes my head clean and keeps the back pain away.

Besides that I'm also involved politically as a democratic socialist and feminist by being a member of the Polish 'Together' party.

Where's your favorite place to work from?

It depends when you ask. Previously, I was a big fan of coworking spaces, as I mentioned in my article on Medium some time ago. Now I have come back to working from home and most probably I will start working again in cafes soon. It's a matter of my mood. I also like to change things just for the sake of changing.

For anyone cautious about hiring remote developers, what do you say to them?

I strongly believe that the remote way, when done right, is way more effective than the 'standard' office. Moreover, I think that in the future the remote approach will get push the other one out of the market completely. The problem is that such change is a huge revolution for many companies.

Rapid changes tend to leave some people feeling excluded. By saying 'remote work is not for everyone', what I mean is that people need baby steps to get adjusted.

Take this example: remote work gives you the freedom of working anywhere, anytime, but it also means that people who are lacking self-discipline and the specific set of habits and routines will spend much more time on doing totally unproductive things, which eventually will make them miserable and working more than they used to before.

Also, remote work itself won't resolve basic work culture problems in a company. It's a nice tool, but it must be done right. X-Team does it pretty damn right.

And last but not least...what dent do you want to leave in the world?

I want to raise my daughter as a happy, educated, self confident and independent person and make the world better for her than the one she appeared in over 2 years ago.

As one man, I can't do much more except that, and that's a huge thing anyway.

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