February 10, 2020

Role Model: Junior Front -End Developer

Katarzyna Marchocka by

Ewelina Ślepko, Junior Front-End Developer and our Silesia organizer, tells us how she turned her hobby into a new career.

What did you do before going into IT? Why did you decide to change your professional career?

Before I started my career in IT, I worked in the medical field. Just after graduating, I found a new interest – programming. It was simply fun to spend time after work discovering a completely different world with unknown rules and language. 

There was no plan to change professions. My previous job was full of challenges, but at some point I noticed that writing code started to absorb me more than anything else. It was total immersion into the world of unknown. Finally I decided to take a chance and do it professionally.

Why did you choose Front-End?

Initially I decided to learn Javascript because front-end programming didn’t scare me so much. There was a common denominator with my previous experience, because I am a person who likes designing aesthetic things, and place great importance on details.

At one point, Front-End became very popular among programmers starting their careers. Do you think that right now a person going into this career needs to have more skills and knowledge than a couple of years ago?

Does a potential candidate need to have more knowledge than a few years ago? I don’t know, but I think it’s always appreciated if you have a natural willingness to learn totally new things and you can do it relatively fast.

What do you like most about programming? And what’s the most difficult for you? 

I definitely value implementing ideas that were born in my head. For someone who has a strong creative personality, programming gives a sense of freedom. Another aspect is that the whole creation process is based on logical principles, which means you have to face problem solving everyday. It gives me a lot of satisfaction and joy. 

But as always, there is also a dark side of the force. This job requires a lot of commitment which means that if you want to be good at it, you can’t limit yourself to learning new technologies only at work. I think this is fine, but sometimes it’s very easy to overdo it and spend time only in front of the monitor. So this is a big challenge to do something else in your free time without remorse and feeling lack of progress. 

Front-End changes regularly. There are many libraries, languages, trends – how do you manage to keep on top of that?

My way to deal with it, is to approach this hype calmly, choose some favorite technologies and then try to improve my knowledge. There is no need to know every library or framework. Furthermore, even if for some time you decide or will be forced to learn a new language or library (which is very probable), it will be easier than at the beginning of your journey because it’s very likely these technologies will have common features. 

When did you decide to join Geek Girls carrots as an organizer? 

It was a very spontaneous decision. Once upon a time I stumbled on Oliwia – who is responsible for Carrots in Silesia. She was looking for someone willing to co-organize an event in Katowice. I must admit I enjoyed it more than I expected. The organization process and leading the event was so stirring. I appreciate that I can be a brick in creating a place on earth, where we share programming knowledge and experience with others.

What would you advise to those who are preparing to change their careers into IT? 

It  sounds cliche but in my opinion there is no better way for learning than to jump into deep water. There is a fine line between learning the basics with tutorial and only rewriting someone’s else code. So, roll up your sleeves and try to create something on your own! Remember to use various sources (especially documentation of this particular technology). It is inevitable, you will make a lot of mistakes, but you can always try to fix them. The sooner you get used to it, the easier it will be for you to apply in your work. 

What are your next steps regarding IT education?

I will continue to study by myself, there is a lot of stuff to learn. Currently I focus on Angular framework (recently I switched to it from React library and I want to get to know it better). I also want to be more familiar with UX and UI topics. I have a plan to read books, learn from online courses, and write my own projects. I also don’t exclude studies.

What are your favorite books and online resources to learn?

When it comes to books I highly recommend “Clean Code” by Robert C.Martin. One of my favorite source of IT knowledge is Medium.com. However if you want to spend time developing your skills in practice check: Codewars.com.

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