Having lots of talented and advanced individuals on board is a great opportunity for the development team to grow quickly and consistently. What do you need to take full advantage of it? What is the meaning of a senior developer position? And how to become one at XSolve? To find the answers to these and other questions, we’re starting a series of articles outlining our developers’ success stories. The first one comes from Mariusz, our Senior JavaScript Developer.

Back in the day – what made you think programming was your future field?

Frankly speaking, I’ve never had that gut feeling about programming. At the time, I knew only what I was good at: math and the sciences. Thanks to some of my friends, who had chosen Computer Science and Econometrics at the  University of Economics in Katowice, Poland, I knew that this faculty could give me a promising start. And I went for it.

Besides math and science, I had always been interested in graphic design, and I had some artistic leanings. “What a strange combination”, you may say. But as it turns out today, that mix was very desirable.

So, after few years of studying, together with my sister and a friend, we decided to try our hands at running a small company preparing visual identity and building simple websites based on Drupal for local clients. That’s how I took my first steps in programming, specifically in JavaScript and PHP. Quite an exciting adventure!

How has it played out?

As well as being exciting, it was also a great learning experience to run a business on our own. It gave me a strong business and technological background, and it was a good opportunity to learn from working with a real product. But after almost four years, we decided to move on and try something else.

I knew already that I wanted to develop myself, particularly in programming. But I lacked commercial experience in a large, stable company.

That’s how I found XSolve, one of the most interesting companies on the IT market at that time. It was a great decision – lasting for almost five years now.

You mentioned having an opportunity to learn different technologies – PHP and JavaScript. Why did you choose JS as your main one?

It came very naturally, since I was always into interfaces and taking care of the visual element of projects. Seeing the effects of my work immediately is what I was most comfortable with.

Moreover, JavaScript has been expanding so rapidly. The market was growing, new frameworks started to appear – React.js , Angular.js, and others.

Even the largest companies like Google and Apple have undergone a major shift to JavaScript, while upgrading the performance of their platforms. I could see clearly that there would be no turning back from JS in the IT world. All that makes me feel I decided on the right direction for myself.

senior deveoper javascript

Was it tough for you to begin your journey at XSolve?

I came here as a junior, and got off to a good start. I was engaged in the frontend part of an app offering digital communication solutions for the healthcare industry, for one of our largest clients – Agnitio from Denmark. That was a genuine learning experience with both Angular and Symfony, trying to combine those two in a single project.

I was determined to learn a lot after hours, but I also had the opportunity to be a mentee of other senior developers, who helped me identify and get past several bottlenecks in the project. We had been doing code reviews, my development goals were clearly defined and other devs helped me achieve them. Basically, being taken care of at the beginning of your career is a huge comfort. And this is one of the hallmarks of XSolve.

Working in Scrum was a great advantage too – no authoritatively made decisions, no Project Managers, having an impact on the shape of the workflow, and having the freedom to choose a tech stack.

Let’s also add the extremely positive vibes between team members, and you have the full positive picture.

scrum meeting senior developer javascript

What were the next steps to become a senior developer here?

Being recognized as a regular developer was a big deal for me –  coding independently, being able to switch between stacks (I knew both backend and frontend practices, which helped me talk with PHP devs with ease).

After a year of working on the Agnitio project, I switched to another, joining forces with a new frontend developer, Ania (who’s also a senior now!) and building a new team. I was also getting more and more confident while working with juniors, mentoring our interns with one clear goal – to lift them up, technologically.

All those initiatives had an impact on my further development – that’s how I became a senior developer.

And what does it mean for you achieve such a position? What’s essential to fulfill this role?

Everyone loves to work with people with high levels of technological knowledge and skills. You have somebody to learn from, and the workflow goes smoother. So the first advice for those who aspire to become a senior – always get involved!

Being a senior developer allows you to have an influence on the strategic direction of the whole company. That’s not an easy role sometimes, but it is also a great opportunity to watch the market, analyze insights and look ahead to what’s going happen in the longer term.

Also, supporting recruitment processes is quite a responsibility. You are, in part, defining what the company will have to offer our clients. So we always strive to hire either highly skilled people or those with great potential for rapid progress… not to mention, being open minded and a good communicator.

Last but not least, you’ve got what it takes to become a senior developer when you engage in building up the company image and playing an expert role for the community. Who can better explain how we work and what challenges we tackle on a daily basis, than a developer taking part in meetups, conferences, workshops (including our own initiatives like Xlab and Front Club)? If you have a natural gift for public speaking, that also might be a lot of fun!

frontend developer, javascript, senior developer

What was the most interesting technological challenge for you so far?

React-based cases for sure. Back in the day, I had very little knowledge about that framework. A project for a French client with an online payments dashboard was a chance to upgrade my skill matrix pretty quickly. That was an unusual challenge, combining hypermedia API described in HAL with a single page application and optimizing the app’s function according to users’ requests.

In general, we try to follow the latest trends in tech. Recently I got an inquiry from a workshop participant about our plans for implementing the newest technologies, in particular, Web Assembly. Well, there’s always room for something new and we’ll definitely explore this one.

Have you thought about any further development goals?

JavaScript is practically everywhere now. It is such a broad technology! It’s hard to find enough time to keep up to date with the latest frameworks and libraries. But recently I decided to dig a little deeper into mobile apps development, React Native and NativeScript in particular. That’s a huge field for technological progress!

So if you want me to achieve it, then let’s get back to work now.

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