In this interview, we sit down with one of X-Team's Senior Full-stack Developers, Szymon Michalak, to talk about his career and passions.
Szymon is incredibly talented, with a true craftsman's heart and attention to detail. We also learn about his passions for travel, family and nature.
What inspired you to walk the path of a developer?
It started a long time ago, somewhere around the mid-90s. It must have been at the time I was in kindergarten or maybe it was the beginning of the primary school when my Dad bought a COMPAQ laptop. My Dad has been running his own business for almost 30 years, and from the very beginning, he used computers for stock management, invoice printing, etc. At that time, I think he strongly believed it’s the future and I am really grateful he shared that idea with me and let me get to know computers from an early age.
Of course, it all started with playing games — Aladdin, Super Mario, Sonic, etc.
Around the year 2000, I got my own PC and a bit later, it got a connection to the Internet thanks to a 56k modem.
At that time, I also received the 'Guide to the Internet' — a book with a list of websites with descriptions of what can be found there. But then... I noticed at the end of the book a quick tutorial on how to create my own website. That’s when the magic happened.
I still remember that amazing feeling when I could open my page in the same 'window' where I browsed the Internet! I felt so powerful, and that probably became my biggest motivation to become a web developer.
It all started with a simple webpage where I had shortcuts to all the pages I visit regularly — like bookmarks, but faster, because it opened as the starting page. Then I had a dozen or so personal websites, mainly in the form of blogs, with a lot of photos (scanned or from my very first Kodak digital camera).
Some of my school friends got interested too, and we created a couple of websites together. The biggest one was about PC games, where we published our own reviews and scores of many games.
Then I took part in a lot of school competitions, and while most of my friends created posters, I always tried to encourage the teachers to let me create a website instead. It worked almost every time, and I probably spent more time on the graphic details than on content itself.
I loved watching professional artists (I still do), and I spent a lot of time creating my own web designs. I was convinced that will be my future job, but at some point, I decided to give up design in favor of coding. My graphics were technically correct, but they missed this artistic bit. That’s when I decided to go full force into web development.