The future of programmers: how to navigate in a rapidly changing tech landscape?
Welcome to our latest interview in the #TravelHeroes series! Today, we would like to introduce you to Sebastian, our Full Stack Developer, whose first experiences with coding began back in school when he was involved in creating a website for a local radio station. Sebastian will share with us his extraordinary professional journey – from his early coding days to his current role as a Full Stack Developer at WorkTrips.com.
During this conversation, we will delve into his experiences and challenges in his daily work. We’ll learn about the technologies that are closest to his heart and what inspires him to continually develop in the IT world. Additionally, he’ll provide insights into his vision for the future of programming.
Are you ready for an inspiring journey? Let’s get started!
MATEUSZ: Sebastian, what was your first job?
SEBASTIAN: I worked at a parcel sorting facility.
MATEUSZ: How old were you?
SEBASTIAN: It was just before starting college, so around 19?
MATEUSZ: What were you planning to study back then?
SEBASTIAN: I was planning to study Electronics and Telecommunications at the Polytechnic in Poznań.
MATEUSZ: So, you weren’t thinking about becoming a programmer at that time?
SEBASTIAN: There was some programming during my studies, but I didn’t seriously consider it back then :).
MATEUSZ: So, Electronics and Telecommunications were more like a trial?
SEBASTIAN: Yes, you could say that.
MATEUSZ: How did your journey into programming begin?
SEBASTIAN: I’m one of those people who got into programming “by calling,” it was my passion. I had my first adventure with coding back in my middle school days, or even at the end of elementary school. Actually, when I think about your first question now, that parcel sorting job wasn’t my first! In middle school, I used to earn money by putting together website layouts. Those were the days when responsive web design wasn’t a thing yet. I would receive a website design in Photoshop and my task was to extract specific graphic elements and then code them in HTML.
MATEUSZ: So, you started more on the front-end side?
SEBASTIAN: You could say that :). During that time, I also ran a neighborhood internet radio station with my friends, although I was much more interested in creating the radio’s website than hosting shows.
MATEUSZ: Oh, that’s interesting! What was your listenership like?
SEBASTIAN: At its peak, maybe around a hundred :).
MATEUSZ: Please tell us, how did your journey with WorkTrips.com start?
SEBASTIAN: I guess it was pretty standard. At that time, I was looking for a job in a product-based company, and I found a job posting online. After previous experiences in a software house, I wanted to see what it’s like to work directly on a product, and I’ve been doing that for almost 4 years now :).
MATEUSZ: How do you remember the recruitment process? You were relatively early in your commercial career back then, right?
SEBASTIAN: Besides my previous freelance work, this was my second job in this industry. Before the interview, I had a technical task to complete, which we discussed during the meeting.
MATEUSZ: Were you nervous?
SEBASTIAN: Not until a certain point. The fact that there were people my age at the interview who created a good atmosphere helped. At some point, someone asked me a riddle that I had to solve during the meeting. It was meant to break the ice, but it had the opposite effect on me. That’s when I started to feel nervous!
MATEUSZ: Do you remember the riddle? 🙂
SEBASTIAN: Maybe not exactly, but it was something like: “A whole string burns in 30 minutes, how can you measure 15 minutes?”
MATEUSZ: Did you manage to solve it?
SEBASTIAN: Of course!
MATEUSZ: How are your responsibilities at present?
SEBASTIAN: I work as a Full Stack Developer. I take care of both the back-end and front-end, with more emphasis on the backend. I handle the core part of the system and I’m responsible for transport integrations. Additionally, together with Łukasz Kupiński, we form a duo that oversees the company’s technological direction.
MATEUSZ: That’s a responsible role! What does it look like in practice?
SEBASTIAN: One of the elements is analyzing the problems we have and the tools that can solve them. We also discuss which technologies we want to retire and what to replace them with. We share the results of our work with the entire team to gather their opinions.
MATEUSZ: What would you define as the biggest challenge in your job?
SEBASTIAN: Without a doubt, it’s the responsibility you mentioned. Nobody is infallible, and our decisions are always susceptible to errors. We try to minimize this, but sometimes we need to backtrack on certain decisions. The process is designed so that for something to go into production, it must undergo thorough verification.
MATEUSZ: It sounds like there’s a lot more to your role than just writing code. How do you feel about that?
SEBASTIAN: I make no secret of the fact that I love programming. It’s my passion, so I’d probably rather spend more time with the code itself. or on analyzing solutions than in meetings, but I treat it as a pleasant duty – such is a bit bittersweet :).
MATEUSZ: Can you estimate what percentage of your time is spent on these non-coding tasks? Is there more conceptual work or programming?
SEBASTIAN: I think it’s about fifty-fifty at the moment.
MATEUSZ: So, in the future, would you prefer to be an expert rather than a manager?
SEBASTIAN: Yes, definitely.
MATEUSZ: Is your role as a full stack developer evenly divided? What do you do more, what do you enjoy more?
SEBASTIAN: Both frontend and backend give me equal satisfaction, but currently, I work more on the backend, but it’s due to the company’s needs, not my preferences.
MATEUSZ: Which technologies are closest to your heart? In what do you feel the strongest?
SEBASTIAN: These are the technologies that our system is mainly built on: TypeScript, Node.js, Redis, MongoDB, PostgreSQL.
MATEUSZ: Are there any areas of the IT world or technologies that you have your sights on and want to develop?
SEBASTIAN: Currently, I am interested in the topic of Domain-Driven Design and conducting Event Storming sessions. These are issues that I am working heavily with right now. I would like to conduct such a full-fledged Event Storming workshop one day. I want to be an active developer all the time, but I don’t know if this will still be possible in 5 or 10 years. That’s why I see myself as a consultant in the future. And perhaps a speaker or trainer?
MATEUSZ: You mentioned that maybe in 5 or 10 years, it won’t be possible to continue as a programmer. What do you mean by that?
SEBASTIAN: Well, I’m getting older, and technology keeps advancing. Every day, new frameworks come out, and it’s very difficult to keep up with this industry. It requires a lot of time, and I just don’t know if I’ll be able to do it.
MATEUSZ: How are you currently trying to keep up with these technological advancements and trends in IT?
SEBASTIAN: Mainly by practicing; I believe that practice yields good results. Of course, books, YouTube
channels, exchanging experiences at industry meetings, podcasts, all of these contribute, and it’s necessary to follow them to stay sharp.
MATEUSZ: What project or topic currently takes up most of your time at work?
SEBASTIAN: Right now I am heavily involved in refactoring transportation integrations. I really appreciate that at WorkTrips.com we are not afraid of the word refactor. “Business” has no problem with it, and that, as you know, is not very common. I’m currently in the planning and consulting stage for these changes that we will be making.
MATEUSZ: So, to balance things out, please tell us what frustrates you the most in your work as a programmer?
SEBASTIAN: As I mentioned earlier – I am a programmer by vocation, so I most enjoy working with code. Sometimes there are other duties that need to be done or meetings that need to be held that are not about programming. I understand their importance, but if I had to point out anything, it’s these things.
MATEUSZ: So, everything that’s not related to coding, analysis, and conceptual work is something you could live without? 🙂
SEBASTIAN: I could :).
MATEUSZ: Is there something you appreciate about working in the travel tech industry?
SEBASTIAN: In developing the area I am involved in, i.e. transportation integration, I have gained domain knowledge that I sometimes manage to use in my personal life. If I go somewhere on vacation and buy tickets, I know how the process works from behind the scenes.
MATEUSZ: Your best memory from WorkTrips.com?
SEBASTIAN: It’s hard to pinpoint just one, but I have very fond memories of all the garden barbecues at Źródlana (the old office). The atmosphere and the people never disappointed ;).
MATEUSZ: What do you think about work-life balance? Is it a cliché for you, or do you see value in it and practice it?
SEBASTIAN: I try to approach it with common sense. I also don’t feel that I suffer in any way from a bad separation of work and private life. I think I keep my finger on the pulse :).
MATEUSZ: Understandable. How do you nurture your passions, and what do you spend most of your free time on?
SEBASTIAN: I won’t hide that I code after work too, mostly private projects. I find joy in it and it gives me a lot of satisfaction. If I choose another activity, I put it down to tinkering with electronics or cars. Sometimes I break something, sometimes I fix something, but I always learn something. 🙂
MATEUSZ: I have to ask, what kind of car do you have? 🙂
SEBASTIAN: A Seat Ibiza.
MATEUSZ: I assume you tinker with your own car, not your neighbors’, right? 🙂
SEBASTIAN: Yes, yes. I work on my own equipment. If it breaks, it’s mine :)!
MATEUSZ: Moving into the realm of science fiction for a bit, what would you say to yourself from 2005?
SEBASTIAN: Hmmm… probably something along the lines of “Go study computer science mister, you will program”.
MATEUSZ: As we approach the end of our conversation, please tell us, what destinations are you choosing for your vacations?
SEBASTIAN: This year, I’m heading to Cyprus, and recently, I was in Greece. I love Mediterranean climates. I have a mission to visit every Greek island.
MATEUSZ: Well then, I wish you the best of luck with your Greek conquests, and thanks for the interview!
SEBASTIAN: Thank you :).